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Author Topic: Not Bearding, but . . . what?  (Read 1499 times)
Field Bee
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Posts: 560

Location: Williamstown, NJ

« on: August 25, 2004, 11:36:52 AM »

No drama, just a question.   Smiley

My colony has been hanging outside the entrance a lot lately, even through the night into the morning.  They don't seem to be bearding, as they aren't clumped tightly together as I've seen them do in the warm weather in the past.  And the weather hasn't been real warm to promote bearding like has happened in the past.  Rather, they space themselves out about one beespace apart from each other in loose rows, all along the landing board, the beveled stand edge and on the front of the hive above the entrance, and do this weird cleaning ritual thing.  They line up and rock back and forth, licking the surface.  I've seen them do it in smaller groups before, but this has been going on for quite a few days now with several hundred (thousand?  Maybe.) of them going at it.  I'll admit, the area they're working sure sparkles, with nary a spot of debris, propolis, etc. to be seen.  Foragers come and go right through the crowd, and I think there is a goldenrod flow on, as I saw plenty of it blooming during my travels west last weekend, and the foragers are coming back with oodles of pollen.

What does it mean when the bees get to cleaning like this during a flow?

-- Kris
Galactic Bee
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Gender: Male
Posts: 6434

Location: Scenic Catskill Mountains - NY

Beekeep On!

« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2004, 01:04:14 PM »


It is called "washboarding" and is one of those mystery behaviors that bees do.  I have never heard an explination that I am willing to buy into.  Some say a sign of swarming, but I don't believe it.

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2004, 12:31:24 AM »

I had an identical occurence with a hive of mine last year and as far as I could tell nothing detrimental occured. The bees eventually quit doing it and got back to work.
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