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Orientation flights

At what point does a worker do their initial orientation flight?
Does a nurse bee do it then return or is it when they first become a forager?

Like anything in biology, there isn’t a neat and tidy answer. :blush:

Nurse bees do short flights outside the hive for “cleansing”. As they get older, the flights become slightly longer and further from the hive. They become fully fledged foragers at around 20 to 22 days, and at that point they do much longer orientation flights.

If you move a hive, or install a package or nucleus of bees, you will see thousands of bees doing orientation flights on the first day at the new site, no matter what their age might be. Of course the young nurse bees will stay close to the new colony site, but the foragers will spend a couple of minutes getting their bearings before they venture off into the new territory.

Fascinating creatures. :wink:


Thanks so much Dawn. I love just sitting in front of the 3 hives we have at various times of the day and watching the different activities going on.
Fascinating creatures absolutely.