Honey Bees Ignore Butterfly

Here’s a short video of a moth or butterfly I found hanging around one of my hives for a few days:

Please let me know if you can identify it. I remember a documentary on honey bees that showed a moth or butterfly walk into a hive and chow down on honey and the bees ignored it because it gave off a pheromone that mimicked the queen. Or something like that. I don’t remember the exact details and I haven’t been able to find the documentary online. I’m not sure if this is that particular moth or butterfly, but I’m curious.

UPDATE: It took five minutes for someone on Facebook to solve the mystery. It’s a Mourning Cloak Butterfly and I don’t think it’s harmful to the bees. Thanks.

3 thoughts on “Honey Bees Ignore Butterfly

    • The butterfly was attracted to the sweet smell of honey, maybe? Around the 38-second mark, it tries to get into the hive. At least it appears that way. But it’s wings gets in the way. Small white clumps of sugar scattered along the bottom board may have also done the trick.

  1. Hi Phillip, the butterfly is a Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa). They hibernate in wood piles and emerge early in the spring to feed on tree sap seeps. The one at your hive was probably looking for something to eat. Thanks for the video.

    P.S. I caught my first swarm of bees this past July in Ontario. This is my first colony. I didn’t take any honey from them this year, but hopefully they will be a strong enough hive that I can harvest some next year. All the best.

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