I took some photos of the bees in Hive #1 crowding around the upper entrance today, coming in for their landings. Here’s one with our cat, Winston, in the background:

The photos can be viewed on my Picasa page too.
UPDATE (Oct. 6/10): And there’s a video.

They kind of look like helicopters…

…or Spitfires.

The bees in this hive were sluggish all year, but they went wild as soon as the weather begin to chill in September.

They got nastier, too, as their nectar sources slowly dried up.

They’re crowding to get through the entrance because there’s a huge feeder full of sugar syrup waiting for them inside.

They’re so desperate for a natural source of nectar, I see them all over the yard now. During the summer, I’d see one or two buzzing around some of the flowers, but never large numbers. They’re everywhere now and not the friendliest bees. I don’t get too close. They’re remarkably docile during the summer though.

9 Responses to “7 Photos of Bees in Flight”

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  1. Sam Smith says:

    yup, they get meaner, probably because they have to fight off robers when the nectar flow is low, thats one reason when/if I have to feed I don’t use honey, and I keep the feeder at the back of my hives away from the entrance. They do look like mini helicopters though xD with there legs hanging down they kind of wobble in the air.

  2. jeff says:

    I took the two boardman feeders off today around 4:30 PM. No reaction out of the bees. It was still 17°C. When back around 6:00 PM to put the feeders back on. Boy, out they girls came with there buts in the air, first it was a dozen, then 30 or 40. Then they started to get the taste of the sugar syrup and it was sheer excitement. Coming on dark they were still flying.

    Is that normal for a hive I wonder? Being a nubie and all…

    Within a hour and a half they had an inch gone in each 750 ml feeder. Also mixed 2:1

    • Phillip says:

      My mix is 2:1 now too.

      The bees in Hive #1, which apparently aren’t queenless, but I don’t know, are still slow, but I do see them bringing in pollen.

      Hive #2 is crazy and has been for most of Sept. And, yes, I see them flying around until dark. The other night I went out with a flash light and could see a clump of them still hanging out by the entrance — in the dark.

      The bees in both hives are not in friendly mode.

      Once you got more supers, you can toss the Boardman feeders. They’re great at encouraging robbing, though I guess robbing is bad this time of year no matter what. Next year, I’ll reduce the entrances in September in anticipation of robbing season.

  3. Jeff says:

    At this point only one hive doesn’t matter for robbing. But yes, I made the standard super the weekend I was thinking about putting a couple frame feeders in to see if they like.

    Leave the inner board as is and place the 3rd super on top to accommodate the boardman feeders and place outer covers on that.

    What do you think?

    • Phillip says:

      That’s pretty much it. I’m using two medium supers instead of a standard super to hold the frame feeder above the inner cover, but it’s the same deal. Both of my hives have a frame feeder installed like this, though Hive #1, which may or may not be queenless, also has a Boardman feeder sitting on top of the inner cover. For whatever reason, they’re not as quick to notice the frame feeder as the bees in Hive #2.

      I have to refill the feeder in Hive #2 around lunch time. I’ll try to take a photo of the set up and post it in my next to comment.

      My next project is to build some insulated inner covers for winter. Those could be installed any time now. Some mice-proof screened winter entrance reducers can probably go on any time now too. I’m working over Thanksgiving. I don’t know when I’ll have time to do all this.

      • Phillip says:

        Shoot. I forgot to take a photo. Oh well.

        Hive #2 is sucking up about two litres a day.

        Hive #1 has barely touched the syrup from its feeders. The frame feeder looks like they haven’t noticed it yet. The Boardman feeder near the hole in the inner cover is half full. It holds about 500ml and I put it in two days ago.

        That’s another reason why I thought the colony might be queenless. There are still plenty of empty cells left to fill with winter stores, and I think they might even have one frame left to build. So I don’t know.

        At this rate, I won’t have to refill the frame feeder is Hive #1 for the rest of the month.

  4. jeff says:

    It warmed up this afternoon. When I got home there was 3?4 left in each boardman. Then I went and checked it before dark and one was an inch from empty and the other was a 3rd full. Apparently the bees will not break cluster when it is cooler than 50°F [10°C]. So that may be part of the problem.

    I’m interested in those insulated covers you were talking about. Fill me in on the details later.

  5. Phillip says:

    I plan to make my insulated covers tomorrow or Saturday. I’ll post photos.

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