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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Son and I am new to bee keeping. we started our first two hives this year and also picked up a swarm. Decided my son needed to start bee keeping when he started following bees home and telling me where they lived. Last week we changed out the feeders and added full ones to the 3 active hives. I got lazy and left the NUC that I use to carry frames and feeders on the porch. Of course the bees found them. About half the bees visiting this feeder are pure black. They are a touch smaller than the other bees too. I snapped some good pics that I'll add here too. I did some searching last night and found A.M. Mellifera listed as German Bees and as British Black bees.

I am interested to know more about the nature and production of this bee. The British sites were about Conservation since this species nearly met extinction there and the German sites were in German. Normally this would not be a problem since my dear wife is German but she had to get up at 04:45 to go to work and would not like me getting her up at 23:30 to translate a YouTube video.

One thing both my son and I had noticed is these bees are very Hygienic. After climbing down the feeder, they would spent a few minutes cleaning them selves before flying away. Also if the gorged themselves on the sugar water they would stretch out a bit and then show some lighter, grey/tan lines. see the second picture.

My son has started the bee lining process, but is having difficulty getting the initial direction on these bees. Its hard to follow them through the trees in our back yard.

Blackbee.jpg blackandgrey.jpg
 

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When bee lining just keep watching till you do get a good line on them.Then use a transit compass and follow the line they take.You will soon come right to where they are.While running the line be sure to look everything over good down the line.Also you might have several bees from different hives coming in but just pick out one line at the time.Although while watching them you could write down the degrees they all go and if you dont find one you can try the others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My son seems to have a Knack for Bee lining. He started doing it last year and found several hives that did not overwinter, or were exterminated before spring. He was chasing bees from our front yard that has no trees at all but a mound of peppermint that attracts hundreds of bees in the fall.

The dark bees were going to the East and to the south but our back yard is surrounded and over hung by tree canopies. The weather hasn't helped either. with heavy overcast skies and two to three showers a day the light is too flat to follow the bees through the light and dark leaves. He gets pretty determined so I am sure he will find them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well we finally got time to get serious about beelining these bees. We have been so busy around here. It is amazing how close we came to locating them the first time. We were standing with-in 100 meters of the hive boxes they were living in.

As a new twist. My neighbor kids were watching the bees fly in and out of my hives and suddenly they asked "Why does this bee have a red dot on it's back?" So someone is beelining my bees!
 
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