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Do bees fly differently on a cleansing flight from a foraging flight?

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Polyanwood 

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The big colony was flying today, but the two smaller ones weren't. The hive also smelled quite strongly of honey and propolis from the outside. I wondered what they were up to, but didn't want to chill them, so looked from outside.

They were coming out, flying up 20 ft, then circling and flying off somewhere. Can you tell what they are up to by the way they fly? Saw no pollen going in.
 

Bcrazy 

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What you have seen today is probably the bees on cleansing flights.
Its bees that have not emerged before as they will spiral upward in a circle to about 20 feet. Whilst spiralling up wards they are getting their bearings through the UV light and the solar azimuth. They will then fly about half a mile to a mile from the hive and noting specific landmarks for when they do fly out for forage.
They will do their 'business' and return to the hive. Its an indication that the weather is beginning to warm.
Hope that has helped.

Regards;
 

admin 

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Thanks Bcrazy,very helpful post.

Noticed all my hives doing this today as well.
Strange thing is because it was cold I never noticed them doing the normal bobbing infront of the entrance.
 

Finman 

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Can you tell what they are up to by the way they fly? .
They land on sunny surface (tree wigs) and make then gut empty. If it is cold, they drop on ground. They warm up their muscles and return home. Some make gut empty on air and return.

In cleansing flight they do not fly far . Perhaps 30-50 meter.

I can see that how far they make snow yellow.
 
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Polyanwood 

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Thanks for answers. Is there ever a pattern left in the snow that would make you worry?
 

Finman 

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Thanks for answers. Is there ever a pattern left in the snow that would make you worry?
No it does not. I am in Helsinki when they make their flyings.

To make good cleansing flight it takes often several days and it needs fine days. Sometimes snow is covered with dead bees when they cannot return. But hives have never been empty for cleansing flight , or even half empty. Often birds have much to eate.

If hive makes in too low temperature cleansing flight, it looses much bees. It is better not to wake up them to do so.
 
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