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Turn around time

947 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Michael Bush
Any idea about how long the average worker bee cycle time is for leaving the hive and returning? Based on forage within 1/2 mile radius.
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I had bees gathering water at my pond which I covered with flour. Flour coated bees were back at the water in about 15 minues. I have no idea where the colonies actually were. That is how I would do your own experiment.
A honey bee can fly up to if i recall correctly 10MPH as top speed. Now how fast that a bee normally fly who knows, but Vance G has a good idea. Flower your bees at the hive entrance as they leave and watch to see how fast they come back.
Flying honey bees demonstrate highly variable metabolic rates, here in Wisconsin. Altitude, wind speeds, temperature, and weight of foraged material will be a major piece that have to be factored in. Also take into account if these are 2 day old bees or over wintered bees with busted up flappers. Not so great at the math but the thrust to weight ratio... ahh They get back to the hive when they are good and ready any questions tell it to the business end of that bee.
I think the cycle time is going to vary considerable as the nectar sources change and the strength of the flows.

"Interpreting Round Trip Time Data – Earlier accounts ranged from vague statements about colony distance (e.g. Edgell 1949:20) to more specific flight time equivalents (e.g. Donovan 1980:85). Such accounts are not particularly helpful; during field work we use a simple formula: x = 150y – 500 (straight line in Figure 1). That is, to estimate distance (x = meters or yards) to each colony, we multiply complete round trip time (y = time between arrivals) by 150 and subtract 500 from the result. (The constant value of 500 represents the time spent filling at the station and unloading in the colony – see Wenner 1963). Error can be considerable, because several bees (marked and unmarked) can be landing and departing each minute, markings are not always clearly distinguishable, some individual foragers are not consistent, wind (as well as uphill or downwind flight paths) alters time, and foragers from more than one colony can be traveling to the feeding station."--Adrian M. Wenner, Joe E. Alcock and Daniel E. Meade, Efficient hunting of feral colonies. Bee Science 2:64-70.
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