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Wing position? what does it mean?


Wanted to see if anyone can tell me if it means something with the wings position differently.

What I’m seeing on the front of my high is some bees have their wings totally folded back and some have them slightly open not flattering but open. Wanted to understand this is telling me something. Also I do have some sitting on the front of the hive Fanning but it’s rare that they are doing that.


There are 2 sets of wings, they are joined by tiny hooks. When the bees are in the hive they tend to unhook them to walk around.
When Fanning nasinov the bees can re-hook the wing but disengage them from the thorax so they don’t fly off or in the hive to fan and evaporate or warm the hive.

"Heater bees are responsible for maintaining the temperature of the brood nest in a hive, where young bees, known as pupae, are sealed into wax cells while they develop into mature bees.
The scientists discovered that the heater bees work to subtly change the temperature of each developing pupae by around a degree and this small change determines what kind of honey bee it will become.
Those kept at 35 degrees C turn into the intelligent forager bees that leave the nest in search of nectar and pollen.
Those kept at 34 degrees C emerge as “house keeper” bees, conducting chores such as feeding the larvae and cleaning the nest.
Professor Jürgen Tautz, head of the bee group at Würzburg University, in Germany, said this allows the heater bees to control what sort of job a bee will fulfil when it matures and so ensure there are always enough bees filling each role within the colony.
He said: "The bees are controlling the environment they live in to make sure they can fill a need within the colony.
"Each bee in a colony performs a different profession – there are guard bees, nest building bees, brood caretaking bee, queen caretaking bee and forager bees, which are the ones we are familiar with as they leave the colony.
"By carefully regulating the temperature of each pupae, they change the way it develops and the likelihood of the role it will fulfil when it emerges as an adult."
The findings will be revealed later this month in a new BBC series Richard Hammond’s Invisible World, where technology is used to give a glimpse into previously unseen worlds.
Thermal imaging cameras reveal how individual heater bees warm up the nest to precisely the right temperature.
By beating the muscles that would normally power their wings, heater bees increase the temperature of their bodies up to 44 degrees C – nearly 10 degrees hotter than a normal bee.
They then crawl into empty cells within the brood nest, transmitting heat to the surrounding cells where the bee pupae are developing. The waxy cells also help circulate the heat around the rest of the hive.
In the past beekeepers have seen these empty cells as undesirable and have attempted to breed queens that did not leave them empty, but Professor Tautz now claims they are an essential part of ensuring the health of a bee colony.
Warmth is essential for bees as they need a body temperature of around 35 degrees C to be able to fly.
The heater bees, which can number from just a few to many hundreds depending on the outside temperature and size of the hive, also press themselves against individual cells to top up the temperature of each pupae to ensure it develops into the right kind of bee.
Professor Tautz added: "The old idea was that the pupae in the brood nest were producing the heat and bees moved in there to keep warm, but what we have seen is that there are adult bees who are responsible to maintaining the temperature.
"They decouple their wings so the muscles run at full power without moving the wings and this allows them to raise their body temperature extremely high.
"Their body temperature can reach up to 44 degrees centigrade. In theory they should cook themselves at that temperature, but somehow they are able to withstand this high temperature.
"By creeping into empty cells, one heater bee can transmit heat to 70 pupae around them. It is a central heating system for the colony.
"Now we know that these empty cells are important, then bee keepers can try to avoid selecting for queens that don’t leave these cells empty. It can help to ensure that colonies can regulate their temperature properly and have the right mix of individuals."
Temperature is known to have an influence on the development of young in other animal species.
In crocodiles, the sex of hatchlings is determined by the average temperature of the eggs during a key point in the incubation period, so if they are kept above 34.5 degrees C the offspring will be male.
Many species of fish and turtles also use temperature to determine the sex of their young.
Dr David Aston, chair of the British Beekeepers Association’s technical and environmental committee, said: "There has never been a good reason for the presence of individual empty cells across the face of the comb.
"Now Professor Tautz has provided an explanation and beekeepers will look more closely at the brood combs to see if they can observe heater bees at work.“
Richard Hammond’s Invisible World will begin on BBC One on March 16. The episode with the heater bees will be shown on March 23.
Professor Tautz has asked us to make clear that the temperature changes brought about by the heater bees alter the probablity of the tasks that will be performed by larvae when they mature.”


So it sounds like this has aired. is there a link some where?

I will try to take a photo. for this may be what I am seeing but it is out side of the box on the landing strip. and they are just walking around or sitting there. At first I was thinking it maybe mitts but they don’t look deformed.


You want a link to the program? I can Find you one.

Video would be helpful


Please, sounds like a great program


See if this will play




2:30mins is interesting - you can see the 3 oculi = the 3 eyes on the top of the head


Here is an example the girl of the top left is just sitting there like that not fluttering her wingsAnd the two other girls on the bottom right have their wings folded back just curious if it’s telling me something


It is telling you that you are doing bee portraits, and that you are addicted to beekeeping! :smile:


LOL LOL ok tell me something that I don’t know :slight_smile:


looking real close to see if any of them have Varroa Mites or anything else


Are these your first babies? Other than buildings? :smiling_imp:

I love your curiosity and anxiety about your bees, but they look fine to me. :smile:

My best guess is that some are guard bees on patrol and some are nurse bees working out what the heck is outside the hive, and some are foragers taking a bit of a rest. They are not doing the Nasonov thing (butts are not in the air), so they are doing something else. If I ever learn to become a bee telepath, I will be sure to find out for you. They know what they have in mind, and they are wise. We don’t know and we are not very wise about bees. After all, this planet has been theirs for 200 million years, and we only came along in the last 2 million or so - depending on who you believe… :slight_smile:


Yes they are my first hive. I am out here now watching them. Lawn chair laptop and a glass of tea cannot be beat watching these bees. Just trying to treat them right, well as right as I can know and figure out.


From everything I have read and been told you will likely never see a mite even if you have very high levels. They are extremely good at hiding


Those bees just blow me away. Puts a different spin on the life cycle of a bee.
Thanks for that @Valli.


The two books you need to get your hands on are Honeybee Democracy by Tom Seeley
and The Buzz About Bees by Jürgen Tautz
They have all this information and much much more


If I remember correctly, the wings of newly-emerged bees are tightly folded, and as the bee ages (probably during it’s few weeks of foraging) the wings spread more and more.


Till they become to shredded to fly…


By queen excluders? :imp: