Tuesday, August 28, 2012

This Does My Heart Good

Yesterday I noticed this happening at the front of my Carniolan hive and it thrilled my heart. I apologize for the sideways video. I sometimes forget that I have no way to correct that once it is posted. Humor me, cock your head to the left and witness the phenomenon of orientation flights (also known as play flights).

This happens quite often on sunny afternoons. This video was taken at approx. 3pm. Most of the bees shown are only about 3 weeks old. They are venturing out of the hive for the first time and this play flight lasts about 5 minutes. They do a lot of hovering close to the hive, with their faces and feet pointing towards it. This is how they learn where they live and how to get back to their home. I have witnessed these orientation flights many times this summer, outside the Italian hive, but this was the first time I'd seen it outside the Carniolan hive. That is why I am so happy. My new hive is finally strong enough and has enough new bees to show this kind of activity. Here is a picture showing the Carni hive and the Italian hive (which was not having orientation flights on this day). Click on the picture to enlarge it.

You notice the air traffic outside the Italian hive is much less. They are having business as usual. Just an hour later I shot this video. The activity at both hives is about the same. Play time is over.

BTW, that  brown stuff around the hives is coffee grounds (from Starbucks). A beekeeping friend told me it keeps ants at bay. I don't know if it works but it sure looks untidy.

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