THE FOLLOWING HAS BEEN UPDATED SINCE ORIGINALLY POSTED.
I like watching the honey bees in my backyard. It’s impressive to see a bee come back to the hive weighed down with pollen. I’ll get a picture of that soon enough. But today — five minutes ago — I noticed a row of bees near the entrance of Hive #2 fanning their wings.
Just sitting there together, not moving, but fanning their wings like crazy. I’m guessing they were trying to cool down the hive, get a breeze blowing through it. At first there were three bees in a row. Then one flew away but the two remaining kept at it.
Maybe they’re just a couple of baby bees drying off their newly-minted wings. As usual, I don’t know, but I’m going with the cooling-the-hive theory.
More bees seemed to appear as I got closer to take the photos, but they also seemed happy to ignore me.
And the two cool bees kept doing their thing. Give it up for the Cool Sisters! (All worker bees are female.)
JANUARY 30, 2011: I knew this a long time ago, but didn’t have time to update the post until now. The bees are ventilating the hive to regulate the temperature for brood rearing or to help evaporate water from the nectar to turn it into honey, or both.
PHOTOS NOTE (AUGUST 2015): The photos in this post may not display properly because they were uploaded through Google’s Picasa online photo album service, a service I no longer use because certain updates created more work for me instead of streamlining the process. I will eventually replace the photos with ones hosted on the Mud Songs server. This note will disappear when (or if) that happens.