[nafex] Bee Habits

Phil Norris COUSINPHIL at ACADIA.NET
Thu May 10 20:37:09 EDT 2001


Tom,

I ain't no bee expert but I do know that bees navigate by visual 
cues.  When a bee leaves the hive for the first time it flies 
backwards and takes mental "snapshots" of the hive and the 
surrounding area.  It is easy to confuse bees by moving rocks and 
other objects near the hive.  And if you move the hive six feet the 
bees will congregate around the old spot and may not be able to find 
the new location.  I think I read once that bee vision is poor, not 
because the compound eye is deficient, but because the bee brain is 
so small that it lacks the processing power to handle all the visual 
input.

But it is possible that the bee continues to take mental snapshots as 
it ventures farther and farther from the hive.  If you hand carried a 
bee to a location it had never been before, I would think it would be 
likely that the bee wouldn't know where the hell it was.

On a related subject,  my bees are very sensitive to sounds.  They 
get angry when I mow near the hive with the little high pitched lawn 
mower but they don't seem to mind the deeper sound of the tractor 
with its big mower.  Needless to say the trees in that section of the 
orchard don't get mowed as well as elsewhere.

Phil Norris
East Blue Hill, Maine
Z4






>Hi,
>
>Dumb question...
>
>How do bees navigate away from the hive, and then return to
>it?
>
>I know that they do a dance in the hive which tells other
>bees where nectar can be found, which I believe has to do
>with the position of the sun in the sky.
>
>But would the bees you hand carried to the plants be "lost"
>and not know the way back to the hive?
>
>Since hives are moved around to pollinate crops, the bees
>must have some means of remembering where the hive is on a
>daily basis.
>
>Hopefully, a bee expert will be able to reveal how dumb this
>question is.
>
>Regards,
>Tom
>
>"Raby, Brian {20-4~Indianapolis}" wrote:
>
>>   Don,We keep about 5 hives ourselves (my wife being the
>>  bee keeper), and she suggested that she collect some bees
>>  from the hive and place them on the strawberry plants to
>>  sort of wake them up to the fact that there is a nectar
>>  source nearby.  Did you ever try to do that with your
>>  bees,  kind of hand hold them over to a food source?
>>  Anyway, either the strawberries are self-fertile or other
>>  flying objects are doing the pollinating, but I'm going to
>>  have a full crop this year.Brian
>>
>>       -----Original Message-----
>>       From: Don Yellman
>>       [mailto:dyellman at earthlink.net]
>>       Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2001 12:58 PM
>>       To: nafex at yahoogroups.com
>>       Subject: [nafex] Bee Habits
>>
>>       Brian:
>>            I have kept bees for over 20 years, and
>>       have learned this about
>>       them: each bee only works one type of flower at
>>       a time.  Your bee kept
>>       returning to the dandelion because she had been
>>       assigned to dandelions.
>>           That said, my bees have never been too
>>       gung-ho for strawberries.
>>       What pollination takes place on strawberries
>>       seems to be done by
>>       smaller, feral insects.  They must not have much
>>       nectar or other
>>       attraction for classic bees.  Even so, I have
>>       never noticed that
>>       strawberries fail to set due to lack of
>>       pollination, so they may be, to
>>       some extent, self-fertile, or they benefit from
>>       some air pollination.
>>
>>       Rgds, Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA
>>
>>
>>       Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the
>>       Yahoo! Terms of Service.
>>
>>
>>                    Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
>   [www.debticated.com]
>
>>
>>  Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms
>>  of Service.
>
>--
>Thomas Olenio
>Ontario, Canada
>Hardiness Zone 6a
>
>Hi,
>
>Dumb question...
>
>How do bees navigate away from the hive, and then return to it?
>
>I know that they do a dance in the hive which tells other bees where 
>nectar can be found, which I believe has to do with the position of 
>the sun in the sky.
>
>But would the bees you hand carried to the plants be "lost" and not 
>know the way back to the hive?
>
>Since hives are moved around to pollinate crops, the bees must have 
>some means of remembering where the hive is on a daily basis.
>
>Hopefully, a bee expert will be able to reveal how dumb this question is.
>
>Regards,
>Tom
>
>"Raby, Brian {20-4~Indianapolis}" wrote:
>
>>  Don,We keep about 5 hives ourselves (my wife being the bee 
>>keeper), and she suggested that she collect some bees from the hive 
>>and place them on the strawberry plants to sort of wake them up to 
>>the fact that there is a nectar source nearby.  Did you ever try to 
>>do that with your bees,  kind of hand hold them over to a food 
>>source?  Anyway, either the strawberries are self-fertile or other 
>>flying objects are doing the pollinating, but I'm going to have a 
>>full crop this year.Brian
>>
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Don Yellman 
>>[<mailto:dyellman at earthlink.net>mailto:dyellman at earthlink.net]
>>Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2001 12:58 PM
>>To: nafex at yahoogroups.com
>>Subject: [nafex] Bee Habits
>>
>>Brian:
>>      I have kept bees for over 20 years, and have learned this about
>>them: each bee only works one type of flower at a time.  Your bee kept
>>returning to the dandelion because she had been assigned to dandelions.
>>     That said, my bees have never been too gung-ho for strawberries.
>>What pollination takes place on strawberries seems to be done by
>>smaller, feral insects.  They must not have much nectar or other
>>attraction for classic bees.  Even so, I have never noticed that
>>strawberries fail to set due to lack of pollination, so they may be, to
>>some extent, self-fertile, or they benefit from some air pollination.
>>
>>Rgds, Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA
>>
>>
>>Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the 
>><http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/>Yahoo! Terms of Service.
>>
>>
>>
>>Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the 
>><http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/>Yahoo! Terms of Service.
>>
>--
>Thomas Olenio
>Ontario, Canada
>Hardiness Zone 6a
>
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