“May I have your attention please? Can all newbees please report to the main entrance immediately for flight class? Again, all newbees report to the main entrance for flight class!”
I’m a bit of a Chicken Little when it comes to our bees. Except instead of the sky falling, I’m convinced anything out the ordinary must mean they are going to swarm. I try to control my emotions and not panic, but the truth is someday they WILL swarm. It’s just a fact of nature! Saturday was not that day though, (and neither was Wednesday for anyone following us on Facebook). No, as crazy as of a display as they were making they were only having flight classes. It was a HUGE class, but just a class not a swarm.
The lifespan of the average honeybee varies with the time of the year. In spring and summer, worker bees may live as long as 5-6 weeks. The first three weeks of their lives are typically spent doing jobs inside the hive. At around 3 weeks of age they begin their transition to jobs outside the hive such as foraging for nectar, pollen, propolis and water. Now they don’t just go zipping right out there, first they must learn to fly and orientate themselves so they don’t get lost when they leave the hive. This is where flight class comes in. They like to hold flight class in big spectacular groups. They come pouring out of the hive and turn 180 degrees right outside the hive entrance and hover. They move slightly forward and backward, side to side and in arcs in front of the hive.
It is a spectacular sight to see for new and seasoned beekeepers alike. It also means that our queen is doing a bang up job in the hive. This many bees coming of age means as of about three weeks ago she was an egg laying machine!
You can see them outside the hive entrance in this video:
In this video I literately threw my phone down in front of the hive to try to get this point of view:
And lastly, because I couldn’t tell how the video was turning out. I was a little worried that the clover was obstructing the view. So, I grabbed my phone and quickly threw it back out there closer to the hive entrance. It’s quite mesmerizing to watch: