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Author Topic: Vibrating Bees  (Read 1787 times)
Wombat
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« on: June 10, 2005, 03:20:17 PM »

Hey guys, quick behavioral question I haven't been able to figure out from my readings...

As many of you have seen, we've got a new observation hive up in lab, and I constantly take time out of my day to watch and monitor the girls and relax. Although I am well familiar with the waggle and circle dances to communicate outside locations, I've recently been noticing some "stationary waggles" that I'm wondering about.

These are clearly not waggle or circle dances, but a bee will just stand still and shake her body semi-vigorously...sometimes to the attention of other sisters, sometimes not. Has anyone ever seen this before and can explain what's happening in these wags? Happens once or twice a minute, and is very obvious.

I would think that it might have something to do with generating heat, but the hive's internal temperature is where it should be...

Any guesses or answers?

peace
wombat
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2005, 04:40:49 PM »

It's probably the "get it off me" dance.  Usually there is a Varroa involved, but I've seen it sometimes when there wasn't but the end result is still often to be groomed by another worker.  I wonder if the non-Varroa ones are due to tracheal mites since bees groom them off.
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Michael Bush
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Tobikiri
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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2005, 05:59:25 PM »

One of my hives has been doing this too. Usually about 20 of them off to one side of the entrance board and some of them will be vibrating. To me, it looked like some sort of tremor as if the bee had some sort of nerve malfunction.  They do seem to be groomed often by the other bees, but occasionally, one of the vibrating bees will jump on another bee almost as if it were attacking it. They'll fall to the ground and fly back up to the entrance as if nothing was wrong.

I don't see Varroa on any of them and I've got both Apistan and Menthol in at the moment (But, I'm not in any way suggesting that makes my bees mite free).  These were packages installed in mid-May.

I first worried about some sort of pesticide/insecticide exposure, but have yet to notice large amounts of dead bees.  This hive may have also recently raised a new queen as I saw supercedure cells on my last inspection.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2005, 01:54:43 PM »

If you see the bees as a group doing the "wave" then that's a different behavoir altogether.  Usually called washboarding.  The "get it off me" dance is strictly a solo dance until they get a willing participant to "get it off".
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Wombat
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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2005, 03:06:19 PM »

Yeah, its definitely a solo dance...

I've never seen varroa on these girls up to this point (and I check every day because this was a wild swarm and hasn't been medicated yet), and so far, haven't seen any of the telltale warning signs of tracheal mites that I know of. That's whats kind of weird...

Still, I'll be keeping my eyes open as these are two situations I would certainly not be excited about in our new hive...

peace
wombat
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leominsterbeeman
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2005, 09:56:35 AM »

I have seen this behavoir too in my observation hive.  It takes on two forms.  
1.  side to side shake - seems to be "come groom me"

2.  up and down shake - seems to be "I'll groom you"

It seems to be a lot of the younger bees that do this behavior.

I have not seen any varroa on the bees that are doing the shakes.

Newly emerged bees do a wave that I an only explaine as though they are trying to move with a hula-hoop on their abdomen and the do a lot of wing movement exercises.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2005, 10:20:34 AM »

Grooming is also the behavior that controls tracheal mites and you would see that more in younger bees.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Apis629
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2005, 08:10:43 PM »

Wow...do you think Apis dorsata has the same type of grooming language.  I have heard of a grooming dance.
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