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Any ideas on the meaning of this behaviour?

Hey All

I have noticed some bees have been congregating on a canna lilly flower stem every afternoon for a few days now. They seem to make a mini swarm and just hang there. Sometimes I noticed that they seem to be sharing something from tongue to tongue (feeding one another?) They are only about 10 meters from the main hive. Warm days 30+C it happens more often.

Here they are just hanging out together…

Then here they seem to be sharing something with each other (tongue to tongue)

I broke off the stem for a closer look

Took them back to the main hive to see if they wanted to rejoin the main family…

Any ideas?

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Hi Ryan, you have me scratching my head for ideas. The only time I’ve seen a small cluster on a branch like that is when a swarm left it, leaving a few stragglers behind. The stragglers being scout bees (I’m guessing) that returned, only to find the swarm had left without their knowledge of where their new home is.

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that’s exactly what I thought. I have seen sad stragglers left in little clusters like that after a swarm has departed. @Beaver82 is there any chance your hive may have swarmed this week and you didn’t notice? Have you inspected recently?

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Well the hive is still thriving, with a full compliment of bees doing their thing everyday so I can safely say they haven’t swarmed. And this behavior has been seen pretty much everyday for the past 2 weeks. The small amount of bees just chilling out there. I cant say whether its the same bees or whether a different crew arrive everyday…

:man_shrugging:

the flower looks a bit old- is it possible it is fermenting and the bees are getting drunk?

the other possibility is the queen pheremone is very persistent- and bees go back to branches where swarms with queens have clustered. Possibly a random swarm landed there? I have read that swarms are attracted to areas where there are already beehives.

Interesting thought! Drunk bees haha :slight_smile: Well I dunno about that but I do see them doing alot of sharing proboscis kisses.

A few days ago I did took another stem back to the hive. And left it upright at the entrance. Slowly but surely they left the stem only to immediatley start fanning… some walked down & begain fanning the hive entrance, others started fanning the flower stem. It wasnt a hot day & the hive is in the shade. More & more these bees amaze me :slight_smile: