Bees Feeding Each Other? (Trophllaxis)

I saw some of the bees feeding or cleaning each other in front of the hive today. I don’t know. But they were out in large numbers again, so I’m happy.

The bees haven’t been too active for the past week. I thought maybe I squished the queen during my last inspection. I usual, I don’t know. But the temperature went up and they were back to normal today. If we get a warm, dry September, I think both of my hives will have strong populations and plenty of honey stores for the winter.

December 23rd, 2010: Most likely this is a forager coming back with nectar and transferring it to nursing bees who will feed it to the baby bees. Every bee has a specific duty at a certain time in its life cycle. Foragers only forage. Other bees take pollen and nectar from the foragers and store it or feed it to other bees.

January 24th, 2011: What we’re seeing in the video is called trophllaxis.

5 thoughts on “Bees Feeding Each Other? (Trophllaxis)

  1. Looks like a forager that just came back and is sharing the nectar with other foragers. It’s their way of telling other bees what’s out there, and goes with the “dance” that tell them where to get it.

  2. Phillip,

    The bees are still sucking back on the sugar syrup. I cannot believe how much they are consuming. I can no longer lift the back of the hive with one hand. They must be getting close to being filled. I have to move teh hive once the weather gets crappier. I have a place about 20 feet away that I want to move them and I prefer not to until there are no longer any flights for several days so the losses will be minimial.

    Maybe I just care to much.

    • All I know about moving hives is this:

      It’s best if they’re locked in the hive for 3 days before they can get out. (Bad weather does the same thing.)

      Then once you move them, put a pile of branches in front of the entrance so they notice immediately that something has changed. That way they re-orient themselves right away.

  3. I haven’t been able to feed my bees for about a week. They’re probably run out of syrup. I’ll try to refill the feeders today, but I’m already running out of sugar. (I had two 20kg bags.)

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