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Lorrainelovesplants

swarm or mating flight?

This has happened twice in the last 3 days.....
big cloud of bees seen about 20 feet away from the hives.....
thought it was a swarm and kept an eye on them.....
indeed they settled high in a hawthorn, big grapefruit size bunch.....went back with suit on about 4pm ....no sign....


repeated 2 days later.....
Checked all the trees/hedges....no sign...went in yesterday and checked hives....
The hive I had split 10 days previously (into 2) had some sealed queen cells and one hatched, and i saw the queen - nice long girl.
The other hive, also exactly the same......(but didnt see the queen)

So, if the queen has hatched, could this have been a mating flight?no smilies
Sally Too

More probably a swarm and cast swarm? I don't thing there are loads of bees out on the mating flights......

I think 10 days is enough time for another queen cell to be laid up and sealed and a swarm to leave.....no smilies
Tavascarow

I've heard that virgin queens will sometimes take practise flights & a cast swarm will leave, & return with her.
I've never witnessed a mating flight to know what one looks like.no smilies
Lorrainelovesplants

This is what I think has happened......
I was watching them literally coming from the hive....flying around in a cloud (probably about 1000 or so bees, but looks more) and then settling on a branch, but no sign later.......
when i looked in the hive there were roughly the same amount of bees as there was last week.
baffling!no smilies
Sally Too

Okay - looks like I've learned something new...

So the bees think she may be leading a cast and follow her in case and then she goes back in! Makes sense, although I've never noticed it here.no smilies
Lorrainelovesplants

Ive been watching..... here is a photo of them flying round above the hive.



Now its a small photo, but on the full size ive managed to zoom in to see the individual bees.

Since this photo (15 mions max ago)the bees have clustered all over the front of the hive and have gone back in! So, can only assume this is a mating flight.no smilies
Sally Too

Wow - fascinating...

Bees are such amazing creatures!no smilies
joanne

One of the old boys at the beekeeping club told me there is a drone aggregation area over Silverdale, apparently this only happens when there are alot of hives in an area and therefore vast numbers of drones

Apparently all the drones go there to hang out with the boys, drink beer, swap stories and generally talk crap until a Queen comes along on a mating flight and wiggles suggestively at them ;)

It's supposed to ensure that the maximum drones impregnate the Queen

Something on it on Dave Cushmans site

http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/matingbehaviour.htmlno smilies
Lorrainelovesplants

Funnily enough Steve and I were discussing bees and drones the other morning....

Im always pulling out drone cells (to check varroa levels), but Steve reminded me that I need enough drones to impregnate the queen, so ive left the ones Ive seen - hopefully there were enough.
Anyway, they are all away back in, so that should be that. Im going to leave them to it for a couple of weeks before peering in to see whats what.no smilies
Finsky

Once you've seen swarm up in the air..and be able to see drones up in the air with queenie..there is quite a difference. Well..what I've seen did. Few years ago, the air space between ours and neighbours house turned into drone zone.
My first though was "OH NO...SWARM :roll: ..but then I noticed it doesn't look right. There was more leasure space in their flying speed...those 'blokes' were not in hurry, although there was almost a cloud of them in the air..it was more of 'cruising'. Swarm is much more frantic flying.
That summer I was able to witness it 3 times..and since nothing..??no smilies
Tavascarow

A photo I took a few years ago of part of a swarm.
One thing that surprised me was that bees can fly upside down.
There are two in the image on their backs!


no smilies
Lorrainelovesplants

I obviously have too much time on my hands..... :lol:no smilies
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