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Author Topic: Bees and depth perception???  (Read 1324 times)

Offline Moots

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Bees and depth perception???
« on: April 02, 2013, 06:23:17 PM »
This is one of those cases where a picture may be worth a thousand words...but I'll try to explain.

My hive stand is made of a 1X8 frame placed on cinder blocks and is painted white...My bottom boards sit atop it and happen to be painted the same color.  I've noticed a number of bees coming in for a landing seem to undershoot the landing board and it the hive stand board right below it.  I've wonder if I had painted my hive stand or landing boards a contrasting darker color if it would have helped the gals out?

As an experiment I added a plain piece of unpainted wood to the end of the landing boards last night just to see if I notice a difference.

Has anyone else observed this, or have any theory on my observations....
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Offline D Coates

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2013, 06:27:56 PM »
I've seen what your talking about.  I've always assumed it meant they're tired and or have a heavy load.  If they had poor depth perception they wouldn't last long in nature.
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Offline dfizer

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2013, 07:30:08 PM »
The only time I observe the wonky landing is when there's some wind... 
Is it windy where you are?
David

Offline Moots

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2013, 07:35:23 PM »
I've seen what your talking about.  I've always assumed it meant they're tired and or have a heavy load.  If they had poor depth perception they wouldn't last long in nature.

D,
Good point...

In reference to the "heavy load" observation, I've seen that as well, it cracks me up.  Told my little nephew it reminds me of a fully loaded Chinook coming in for a landing, they're all over the place.

dfizer,
As to the wind...I don't think that's the case here.  We get some pretty good breezes at times, but I want to say I've seen this when it's dead calm. 
"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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Offline 123_Bee

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2013, 08:15:39 PM »
Could it be colour perception?

If the stand and the bottom board are the same colour, maybe the bees are aiming for the edge of the white area where there's a contrast - same as focusing a camera?

Offline fshrgy99

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2013, 08:32:18 PM »
I have been thinking that the bees have a hard time seeing anything white. Last summer we had a stretch of 100+ degrees and I had put an old beach umbrella up to increase the shade. It had a blue perimeter band and a white yoke in the center that overlapped and provided air flow. The bees would land on the blue part. When they happened to crawl under the white yoke they would take off, fly straight into it and fall back down 2" onto the blue fabric about 5 times a second. Since then I've thought of myself as kind of invisible if I'm in a white suit.

Just a thought

Offline Moots

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2013, 08:39:02 PM »
Could it be colour perception?

If the stand and the bottom board are the same colour, maybe the bees are aiming for the edge of the white area where there's a contrast - same as focusing a camera?

123_Bee,
I think that's really what I was getting at....

and to fshrgy99 point about the color white...Maybe it's the two factors giving the trouble.  The fact that the bottom board and stand are both the same color.  And the fact that that color in my case happens to be white!

"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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Offline schawee

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2013, 10:15:20 PM »
I think some landing lights will help them out  :-D  just kidding
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Offline Moots

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2013, 10:24:36 PM »
I think some landing lights will help them out  :-D  just kidding

:lau: :lau: Nice Schawee, very nice! :laugh:

I was thinking about maybe installing a crosswalk and traffic signal.   :-D
"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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Offline rbinhood

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2013, 10:51:57 PM »
Place a strip of yellow and black reflective tape on you hive stand below the hive.  Now they should understand that they should avoid this area.   :lau:
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Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2013, 11:00:58 PM »
Moots,
My bees have to come in on a very steep angle through an opening in the trees. They are traveling at a very high rate of speed. If you stand in the way they plow into you because they are used to having a clear shot and usually don't slow down until the last second. With a heavy load I think they are just missing the landing board. Are you standing in front of the hive when they are missing the landing board?
Jim
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Offline Georgia Boy

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2013, 11:17:39 PM »
Hey Moots,

I agree with you, its an optical illusion. Since both are white if you come in at just the right angle there is no visual separation between the two. It kinda like traveling on a straight hilly road at the right angle you can't tell that there is a dip between two hill tops it looks like the road is flat.

On the other hand the landing light sounds like a good idea to me. Couldn't hurt. :)

David. 
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Offline PLAN-B

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2013, 11:59:59 PM »
Moots it's one to one--- that's one part sugar to one part water (H2O) not one part moonshine... :-D Just kidding. I agree, maybe they are being white washed... Break up the pattern... White on a sunny day makes me squint too... 8-) they need sunglasses... Haha
Marshall

Offline Moots

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2013, 12:10:28 AM »
Moots it's one to one--- that's one part sugar to one part water (H2O) not one part moonshine... :-D Just kidding. I agree, maybe they are being white washed... Break up the pattern... White on a sunny day makes me squint too... 8-) they need sunglasses... Haha

B,
Sunglasses....not a bad idea.  :-D

If anyone knows where I can get a good price on about 50,000 itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie pairs of sunglasses....let me know!  I'm interested! :laugh:  Anything for the gals!  :-D
"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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Offline schawee

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2013, 01:16:04 AM »
I just ordered 20000000 pairs and will have a sale on the used ones im replacing. :-D
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Offline fshrgy99

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2013, 07:57:08 AM »
compound john lennon sunglasses

Offline Simon

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2013, 07:58:55 AM »
Beekeepers here always recommend putting the front cleat on the bottom board right at the front under the "landing step".  If you don't, many of the bees will fly under the bottom board.  Maybe they are coming in heavy and undershoot their landings, but I also suspect that they get confused as to where the entrance is - i.e mistake the dark area under the landing board as the hive entance.  We used to put a few bricks right at the front of the hive to make the landing area bigger.

Offline Moots

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2013, 10:08:50 AM »
Beekeepers here always recommend putting the front cleat on the bottom board right at the front under the "landing step".  If you don't, many of the bees will fly under the bottom board.  Maybe they are coming in heavy and undershoot their landings, but I also suspect that they get confused as to where the entrance is - i.e mistake the dark area under the landing board as the hive entance.  We used to put a few bricks right at the front of the hive to make the landing area bigger.

Simon,
I think what you're saying, is what I'm seeing.... :)

I'm just having a hard time visualizing the recommended fix....any chance you can come up with a photo?

Thanks!
"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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Offline nietssemaj

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2013, 02:59:00 PM »
What I always find hilarious is the heavy bee coming in getting plastered by a bee shooting out.

I think my bee's need an air traffic controller sometimes.

Offline Simon

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Re: Bees and depth perception???
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2013, 03:31:00 AM »
Hey Moots, I just took a couple of photos for you.  The quality is a bit average due to my cheap phone, but I think that you will get the idea.

In photo A of my really old bottom board, there is a gap under where the bees land.  Bees will quite often fly into the space under the pailing floor as the cleat is set back from the very front of the bottom board.



In photo B, the cleat is right at the front.  There is more landing area (vertical and horizontal surface) and the bees seem to have less trouble.  I have seen plans for a hive stand with a sloping "alighting" board at the front which gives even more area for the bees to aim at.  The Michigan Beekeepers Association have a plan for one of these on their web site called hive-stand_20110330.pdf that you should be able to find without too much trouble.



We don't have skunks or bears in Tasmania, so hives are often sat on a few concrete blocks or bricks rather than a higher dedicated stand.  Sometimes a couple extra house bricks can be placed in front of the bottom board to take the place of the purpose built hive stand like in the plan - keeps the grass back a bit as well.  That works well if you only have a small number of hives.  I have seen some people use a short piece of plank or ply wood to act as a makeshift landing ramp too.  I have tried to demonstrate both these ideas in photo C (substituting wooden blocks for bricks in this case, but the light wooden blocks probablty wouldn't be heavy enough to stay put for long).  A couple of tacks through the ply into the bottom board would be a good idea too.




I haven't tested to see if the bees get less lost if the hive is a colour other than white.  I'll ask around , it would be interesting to know if a darker colour helps with their landing approach.
 
Simon