Reorientation

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I've just moved two hives a distance of about 25 miles as the bee flies, so I'm currently resting a pulled muscle in my shoulder! This gives me time to think, which is always dangerous. ;)

Obviously, those bees won't find their way back, will they? How do they know they have been moved more than three miles? Have they measured the fact that they were confined and had a wobbly journey for fifty minutes and worked out that they had moved house? As they leave the hive the surroundings will be very different, but that would also be the case if they had moved 25 metres. But apparently, they somehow know to reorientate as soon as they leave the hive. If they didn't, they might end up a mile or so away from the new location and not know how to get back to either the new or the old location.

When you see established foragers leave the hive they seem to just belt out like a jet off an aircraft carrier. If they do that at a new location they might be compromised. I know we don't need to know the science of what's happening, we just benefit from the fact that bees do reorientate if moved the correct distance, but it would be interesting to know what prompts the bees to carefully check their new surroundings.
 
Obviously, those bees won't find their way back, will they? How do they know they have been moved more than three miles?

It's highly unlikely they'll find a reason to fly so far, I reckon. Bees have been known to fly much further than a mile and a half (hence the "three miles rule") for forage, but I think they need a very compelling reason and if there's good forage nearby that probably isn't a situation that's likely to occur.

They don't really "know" they've been moved more than three miles. They're just unlikely to find anything they recognise when they're flying. If they emerge from the hive and don't recall the immediate terrain they'll start to reorientate, gradually expanding the area they cover. If they enter an area they already know during that process (because, say, the colony has only been moved 100m), the better-reinforced knowledge of where home is will predominate and they'll tend to return to where they were originally, but if they don't find anything they know then the new learning is what they have to rely on.

What really fascinates me is how a swarm that moves to a new nest site perhaps only ten metres from their original home overrides their original knowledge of where home is, but of course many of the bees in the swarm won't ever have flown far from their original site to start with and others won't have been doing so for very long, so perhaps it's not as many as we initially think that have to re-learn where home is.

James
 
bees do a quick reorientation around the hive every day, that' and the fact that the terrain around them has changed totally gives them a hint that something has changed.

You might see bees flying out at speed during the day but if you sat by the hive before any start flying you'll see that when they do they take a couple of circles around the hive to reorient

That daily reorientation is something that I've overlooked. These particular bees will certainly see that something has changed...there won't be any OSR fields and they will find themselves in a much more elevated and wild place with less competition fromother honeybees.. I'm hoping for better honey although. probably less of it.
PS. @JamezF , I was being a bit rhetorical...I am pretty sure that they aren't heading back here over 25 miles, two Scottish Firths and two (not remote ;) ) valleys. :)
 
After seeing the way some of the bees tumble down the landing board as they leave my hives, I'm not surprised they need to reorientate :D

James
 
I would think that the straightforward answer to the question lies in the latent (observatory) learning of bees, and that this is more developed in older forager bees. Put simply, they can recognise lardmarks, and therefore re-orientate themselves back to 'home'. The premise of the "3 mile" rule being that they have no known landmarks from which to orientate themselves back to their "home" ... so at 25 miles, I think you are safe. All foraging bees will fly out at the new site and re-orientate.

I have always understood daily orientation flights from a hive to be those of new(er) foraging bees.

... Or have I misunderstood something here ?
 
I have always understood daily orientation flights from a hive to be those of new(er) foraging bees.
it's all bees, firstly, at the entrance they look up and down to calibrate themselves to the gravitational pull, then a few circuits of the hive to ensure nothing's changed.
the three mile theory is that on a normal foraging sortie they should not encounter any landmarks that they would have seen when at the old position which would trigger them to home in on their old position
 
it's all bees, firstly, at the entrance they look up and down to calibrate themselves to the gravitational pull, then a few circuits of the hive to ensure nothing's changed.
the three mile theory is that on a normal foraging sortie they should not encounter any landmarks that they would have seen when at the old position which would trigger them to home in on their old position
moving some of mine 2 miles and will see, they will be surrounded by rape in new location so not bothered really
 
Humid remote valleys😉
Average annual rainfall here is 39 inches. Average rainfall in Blenheim 34 inches. Average for Surrey 31 inches. Average rainfall in Kent 26inches.
So yes, we have the most humid valleys, but not all that much more so.
 
I moved a hive from one end of my garden where it overwintered to the other end near to the others a few days back. Not having the facility to move it to another location more than three miles away fir a few days and then bringing ut back I simply waited until dusk, closed the entrance and strapped it up and moved it to the new location, about 150 yards. I then put a load of brushwood over the entrance to help them realise they had moved and opened the hive up. I checked the original location several times the next day and after an initial worrying moment when about 30 bees turned up there by the end of the day only half a dozen remained and activity at the front of the hive was normal. Looks like the brushwood trick works pretty well.
 
I would think that the straightforward answer to the question lies in the latent (observatory) learning of bees, and that this is more developed in older forager bees. Put simply, they can recognise lardmarks, and therefore re-orientate themselves back to 'home'. The premise of the "3 mile" rule being that they have no known landmarks from which to orientate themselves back to their "home" ... so at 25 miles, I think you are safe. All foraging bees will fly out at the new site and re-orientate.

I have always understood daily orientation flights from a hive to be those of new(er) foraging bees.

... Or have I misunderstood something here ?

Thank you. I realise that the bees aren't going to find their way back at that distance, so it must be true that they do an orientation every day or at least, whenever the external environment has changed.

On returning with forage, when the experienced, forager bees can see "no known landmarks" relating to the location from which they have been removed, they might also have no known landmarks from the new location other than those they have "recorded" on the first outward journey. The fact that they will go to the old location when moved under three miles and accept the new location above three miles means that they must have the ability to memorise two world-maps
 
The fact that they will go to the old location when moved under three miles and accept the new location above three miles means that they must have the ability to memorise two world-maps
Not sure about two world maps but familiar landmarks yes. My guess would be something along the lines of sensing light intensity and direction, when I see the old rusty (landmark) gate (with the correct light intensity and direction) I turn right and descend towards a box shape that will appear in the three minutes to twelve position, and finally I can smell home. Well something like that……..;)
 
One thing I've noticed bees are not so good at is vertical reorientation. Move a hive one way or the other with the entrance at the same height, they'll find it ok but move the entrance upwards, as in the Cloake board method, they are not so good.
 

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