Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lazy Bees? You'll be Surprised at the Answer

Today was a hot day.  The temperature was around 27 with a humidex that made it feel like 34.

It's not uncommon to see bees bearding on the outside of the hive on hot days but sometimes I'll see lots of bees out front just hanging around, like in the photo at left.
Have you looked at your hives and seen your bees do that too?  Have you wondered what they're doing?  Why aren't they out foraging, especially if the weather is nice?  Did you wonder if they were just lazy or stupid?

They look like they're socializing or just relaxing on the porch.  They're not in any hurry to go anywhere.  But we know bees and they don't do anything without some purpose and these resting bees know exactly what they're doing.
While reading the book The Biology of the Honey Bee I learned about resting bees.  The belief is that many workers will stay in the hive and rest.  They relax and hang out.  But the key thing to take note of is that they aren't just relaxing.
They're waiting.

Waiting for the call to action.  They conserve their energy so they're ready to go when needed.

We use resting for popular games like football and baseball.  Some team members are in play in the field while others are on the bench or in the warm up area.  They're not playing now but they're ready for action at a moment's notice.

The function of resting is that it leaves a reserve pool of workers that are available to react to the needs of the hive and they're available for opportunistic events like the discovery of a superb nectar source.

The returning workers will dance the location and the resting workers will race out to the field.  The game is on!
Post a Comment