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Week 3 : Training Flight!

Well, it’s a learning experience for sure. Today, a bit before 3 pm, on a mostly Sunny day in the low 80’s, I decided to cut my grass. As I neared Hive 1, I suddenly noticed a ton of bees buzzing all over the thing! I cut the mower and got off to take a closer look (maybe the mower had upset them.)  As I neared the hive, I was amazed at the number of bees buzzing around this thing!

To put it into perspective, I am used to seeing two to three bees coming and going from this hive every 5 seconds or so. Right now, there were probably a hundred bees buzzing all over the thing. I could see a bunch coming and going, but most seemed to be simply buzzing around the front of the hive, occasionally hitting the landing board and some even crawling around on the front of hive itself!

Needless to say, I thought we had problems. Looking at Hive 2, I could see a small number moving back and forth (maybe 1 bee every 5 seconds, which is par for the course here as this hive continues to show less progress from outside observations then Hive 1.) At first, I tried to call the fella that sold me the bees, but he was not in. I even  considered posting on the bee forums (http://www.beesource.com/forums/), but was not really sure that my description would give them enough to go on.

So, back to the hive I went, watching from a few feet away, to see what I could see. Robbing was one of my main concerns, but I could see no fighting at all. Occasionally, one bee would seemingly feel out another bee, but I really think this was typical inappropriate feeling by the bees (maybe transferring pollen or even nectar.) Mostly, bees were just coming, going and flying all around the front. As far as I can tell, they were all workers. I did notice that some appeared smaller then what I was used to seeing (or so I thought).

Unfortunately, I had a dog issue today and had to go to the emergency vet at 3:30, so I was unable to readdress the issue until around 6 PM. When I returned to the hive, everything was normal again. We were back to 2 to 4 bees coming and going every 5 seconds or so and no sign of my original issue. Regardless, it was time for the weekly check-up.

Hive 1
Still working primarily on 4 frames. The two frames outside of the 4 central frames were starting to get drawn out with some honey and pollen. I did not see the queen, but only went about 5 frames into the hive before I decided to stop. I found lots of brood and more bees coming.

Hive 2
These guys are working on 5 frames now. It’s hard to figure what to make of this, but these guys look stronger from the inside.  Again, lots of brood and more bees coming.

Conclusion: After looking in the hive and reading some posts on www.beesource.com/forums/, I am pretty sure that I have now witnessed my first training flight! It appears that bees, early on in their lives (before they take the role of forager) go out for a training flight on nice days between 3 and 5 (I think mine started around 2:15 to 2:30 this day.) I am confident that this is what I was seeing. These bees were taking one of their first orientation flights, and thus all of the hubub (and maybe I really did see smaller bees!)

All in all, learning about ‘Training Flights’ was a very good thing. I look forward to seeing more of them in the future. I may give them two weeks to get going this time, before my next check. I  hope to have both of my next Deep’s  built by then, so that we can look at adding some more room for the little gals.

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