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Author Topic: Strange coloration in visiting honeybees??  (Read 616 times)
SerenaSYH
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« on: June 05, 2012, 11:05:26 PM »

Folks, it's been a bit of a rollercoaster ride with the visiting honeybees in my garden. There was a full month delay in arrival once my Russian sage bloomed. Also I noticed that about 75% seem normal, very vigorous and healthy but then about 25% I noticed something a bit odd which I've never seen before. 25% of the honeybees the complete abdomen where the stripes are supposed to be (below the thorax) are a very, very pale golden translucence. You can barely see the stripings and the bee almost seems like a glowing "lightbulb" or firefly. Can someone tell me what this could possibly mean. I'm hoping that maybe these are just emerging baby honeybees, but I remember the experts saying that babies tend to be very fuzzy and dull-colored and the gloss doesn't happen until they rub against each other and from maturity. Also wouldn't baby honeybees still remain in the hive instead of emerging to collect pollen so soon?Huh??
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D Coates
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2012, 09:29:17 AM »

A photo would really help.  I've noticed all types of coloration of bees in the same hives on occasion.  When you inspect your hives do you see any bees that are as you describe?
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Ninja, is not in the dictionary.  Well played Ninja's, well played...
Vance G
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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2012, 09:38:43 AM »

I would guess that you are just seeing cordovan coloring.  Racism is not nice!
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Joe D
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2012, 09:43:20 AM »

That would be my guess also.  I have some russian/cordovan crosses.  The cordovans have basicly no dark stripe.


Joe
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SerenaSYH
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2012, 08:05:29 PM »

Thank you Joe, Vance, and D Coates for your thoughts and help....Coates, I'm just a lurker, obsessed with honeybees, but no hive yet, just enjoy reading and studying about them...

Lol, Vance, about the racism! But yeah, today I was trying to take a bunch of photos even before anyone asked, because I thought sheesh, it's lame to describe wtihout showing photos....!! Those honeybees are much shyer than last year so I'm having quite a time or maybe it's the early season jitters. I'm reading that honeybee workers only live 1-4 months and the new ones have to adjust to Eluane (my border collie) and the frisbee. Plus in the fall, maybe honeybees realize that time is short and throw shyness out the window.... I have to download from my SD card, plus I don't have enough new 2012 honeybee photos on my Intro thread so I'll be pretty excited to update.  What I also notice is maybe the super pale ones from May are younger than the pale ones in June (which maintain less stripings but have less "translucence"). Last year and the year before, the midsection of the abdomen used to have tons of black stripes very! evenly dispersed with gold stripes. Now the pale ones you'd have 75% of the abdomen with just one hairline sliver of a dark stripe and only at the ends of the tail will you see the 2 black stripes. But I notice now some of the underbelly is not as translucent as before; I'm starting to get very faint indications of darker yellow amidst pale yellow in belly striations. It's a shame that I didn't catch the "firefly glow" 2 weeks ago; it's a little less apparent now. Hopefully I can catch one that is still young. Crossing my fingers the photos will show this clearly. I'm in the middle of sorting through photos. It's sort of cool comparing my photos with 2010 versus 2011 versus 2012 in my Photobucket album / Intro thread.

Will soon update this thread!
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SerenaSYH
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2012, 11:46:21 PM »

Ohhhh, I missed soooo many of the pale colored shots. One of the reason is because I don't have a micro-lens and because the pale bees reflect a lot of sunlight the camera cannot separate light from light and ruined tons of shots. Took about 45 shots but only a handful turned out....

Here is what I consider "normal" coloration






Here is where it starts to get funky but still healthy (I look for gloss darkness/maturity of wings). Funky ones are very distinct and immediately visible because of their gloss. Note the 2nd photo. That bright orange splash at the right utmost edge of the photos is a second blurred bee. That is how vivid the funky ones can be.




Here is when I start to worry a little: when a honeybee isolates itself from the group and is feeding off of spent or aged blooms, if there is dullness in the texture of the body, if there is any slowness in movement.
This set is almost unicolor but does not have the transparent effect of last week (sadly no photo records) but these still at least show unusually light coloredness.




Please let me know your thoughts. This is the first time I'm seeing such coloration.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2012, 12:07:15 AM by SerenaSYH » Logged
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