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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.


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…


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: