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Hi, it has been kind of cold and drizzly lately, just a limited amount of foraging going on. I noticed about a half a dozen bees standing in the entrance with their butts held way up in the air and they were facing into the hive. I'm new this year and haven't seen this before, could anyone tell me what their doing? Thanks.
 

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Sounds like fanning. Sometimes it is hard to see the wings since they are moving so fast.
They are trying to control the temperature in the hive -or- circulate fresh air in.

When their tails are up but the tail tip down (you will see a small fleshy crease) they are calling in straglers or otherwise trying to collect the bees or get their attention.

Mike
 

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I agree with MikeJ, sounds exactly like they're fanning to cool the hive OR fanning their nasonov glands.. It's fun to watch. The girls turn around and face the hive, stick their behinds way up in the air and fan their wings constantly. They have a scent gland in the base of their abdomen called the Nasonov gland. It's a scent that tells all the other bees, "come over here, this is the way home to the hive". It's a chemical homing beacon.
 

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That's good to know, maybe the foragers are having trouble finding home. Even though it has been cool (low to mid 50's) some of the bees are still flying. They also went through a quart of sugar water in 4 days. Hopefully they are starting to draw comb in the second deep.
 

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They may just be fanning to reduce humidity in the hive, you said they were taking syrup. So they are probably trying to reduce it down - like they do honey.

The use of the nasonov gland (when the tail's tip is bend down) can be used to call in stragglers but unless you moved the hive the foragers shouldn't have any trouble finding it again. God gave them a better system than our On-Star :)

So the fanning you are seeing is most likely to control the hive's climate.

Mike
 
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