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Author Topic: "Shuffling" bees  (Read 1662 times)
zzen01
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« on: June 19, 2011, 05:50:41 PM »

Hello,

Question. Today we looked at just the outside of one of our hives and there were quite a few of the bees on the top super outside, at the top just under the "roof" doing what looked like a "shuffle" up and down for just a short distance. Probably a couple of dozen of them. Anyway, we've not noticed this before and were wondering if this was normal bee behavior, and if so, what does it mean?? Thanks for any help with this question.

Steve and Wendy
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hardwood
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2011, 06:02:51 PM »

That's known as "washboarding" and is normal. Although there has been plenty of speculation as to why they do it (spreading scent etc.) nothing has ever been proven and in the end we really don't know why they do it.

Scott
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T Beek
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2011, 06:07:15 PM »

Do you use an inner cover?  Bees s/b below it unless your set up allows access above it or you're not using one.  Provide more specifics.  Top entrance or bottom?  Or both?  What, if any kind of ventilation is provided?

Bees have all sorts of dance like or shuffle like behavior indicating for the Beek what may be going on deep inside.  It can take many years of observation to get to know what's going on and even then they can fool many a Beek.  Your description lacked specifics for a proper explanation but as long as they're not balling and killing each other it is likely OK.

thomas
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zzen01
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2011, 06:49:38 PM »

Thanks for the replys. Yes we do use an inside cover. On that hive there is the queen super, and then 2 supers on top of that. They are on the top of the top super. Not near the entrance. I know my description is not too great, but I didn't know how to describe it!! LOL!! The "washboarding" term used seems like a good description. That's what it looked like. Like someone was scrubbing up and down on a wash board. smiley Thanks for that!! smiley
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Wits End
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2011, 07:23:18 PM »

You can check out my line dancing video on this thread:
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,33160.msg272396.html#msg272396
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Jeff and Kellie Houston
Wits End Blueberry and Bee Farm
Greenwood Mississippi
FRAMEshift
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2011, 07:31:14 PM »

Bees have all sorts of dance like or shuffle like behavior indicating for the Beek what may be going on deep inside.  It can take many years of observation to get to know what's going on and even then they can fool many a Beek.
thomas

That's interesting Thomas.  Aside from washboarding and bearding, what other dances or shuffles have you observed on the exterior of the hive?  I don't know of any others that have been documented in the books I've read.
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"You never can tell with bees."  --  Winnie-the-Pooh
T Beek
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2011, 08:24:00 PM »

Oh man, perhaps more reading and observation is needed?Huh  My bees 'play' well with others and present more than just two types of behaviors/dances/shuffles, inside or outside (same can be said for some humans).  It's never a dishonor to plead ignorance, especially when it comes to beekeeping.  I misread OP description that bees "were at the top just under the roof"

What is your 'real' question FRAMEshift?  What are you trying to say?  Just spit it out man.  Specifics?

So........Why do bees washboard?

thomas
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2011, 09:30:06 PM »

Oh man, perhaps more reading and observation is needed?Huh

Oh yes.   grin  There's always more to learn.

Quote
My bees 'play' well with others and present more than just two types of behaviors/dances/shuffles, inside or outside (same can be said for some humans).  It's never a dishonor to plead ignorance, especially when it comes to beekeeping.  I misread OP description that bees "were at the top just under the roof"

What is your 'real' question FRAMEshift?  What are you trying to say?  Just spit it out man.  Specifics?

I don't know the specifics.  I was just intrigued when I thought you were saying there were other behaviors on the outside surface of the hive besides washboarding and bearding, which are the only two I know.  I was hoping you would mention some other "shuffle" or "dancing" movements you have seen.  I know lots of other behaviors inside the hive or at a distance from the hive but only two on the outside surface.  So yes, I happily plead ignorance and anything you care to share would be appreciated.

Quote

So........Why do bees washboard?

I read some research last year (I don't have a reference)  saying that the bees are marking the entrance with scent.  I think the point was that instead of just fanning it into the air, they are scratching it into the wood surface to make the entrance identification more permanent.  
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"You never can tell with bees."  --  Winnie-the-Pooh
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