High level activity after thunderstorm

That thunderstorm that left to many houses out of power in Sydney last week also went through my area, although nothing like Sydney’s ferocity. When the storm had cleared up I went to check the hive. I’ve not seen so much activity around the hive before so took a video.


Hi Kim, cute hive. Does the red roof get hot where you live? By your video I can’t be sure if the bees are just clamoring to get out after having to stay in during your bad weather, or possibly preparing to swarm. Also I wasn’t sure if you were looking for trouble shooting help or just sharing :blush::cherry_blossom::honeybee:

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Hi Eva,

The roof does not get hot, the hive is shaded for about two hours in the middle of the day by the tall magnolia tree you can see there. It gets morning and afternoon sun. This video was shot about 5pm and the sun is dropping below the roof of my house in the background.

The colony is still building up after installing a nuc in October and the activity is a result of the storm. They were much calmer the next day.

I’m not trouble shooting, just sharing the video.

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It probably was dark in there without power, and got out for some light and fresh air.

Seriously though, are you sure you didn’t get any water leaking inside the hive? Reason I’m saying is that one of my hives had roof shingles that didn’t seal properly and rain could easily leak with just a bit of wind from the right direction. I filled between the gaps with weatherboard caulk.

I don’t know whether leaking rain will bother them but I guess I better seal it properly.

Hi Numbatino,

I hadn’t thought of rain getting in but the roof is well painted and I was careful to paint between the segments.

The corflute bottom board is covered in DTE to catch beetles and I clean it up regularly. I haven’t seen any water laying on there.

After being couped up in a hive (ie storm) bees will commence a cleansing flight similar to that of a re-orientation flight. Nothing to be overly concerned about unless it continues for days. Then it’s best to inspect for swarm signs.

That activity is very common after a thunder storm and even more if there is lightening about. It is just something that bees do !!!
I have had some ‘storm rain’ the past few nights just on dark and seen many more bees hanging about the outside of the hives as the rain passes. Just some thunder and heavy rain for an hour or two, I’m glad to get it up here.
Nothing like the violent storms you had a couple of days ago, it made the news in Queensland.


I’m pretty sure these are orientation flights. One reason is that the bees are crawling up a bit before launching. Experienced foragers seem to just launch out immediately. Another is that they’re flying in kind of a swoopy figure-8 pattern while facing towards the hive, I guess to better memorize what it looks like.

In my experience colonies in this state are if anything less inclined to sting than colonies that appear “calm”. Bees seem to have a one-track mind and once they’re in orienting mode they don’t easily switch to defending mode. Same with swarming mode, eat-the-honey-because-the-hive’s-on-fire mode, etc – all good distractions from defending.

Orienting and swarming both seem to be more common right after a stormy day. Not sure why. Also no idea why orienting seems to happen in big batches like this.