View Full Version : Clouds of bees in front of hive

25-08-2010, 11:06 PM
Over the last two days, I have noticed bees surging out of two of my hives during the afternoon. Now I check them 5 days ago, and there were no swarm cells or queen cups. The last week has been damp and cold here, with the last two days warmer (17c today), and when the sun hits the hives around 1400 hours, the bees appear to leave the hive in numbers, fly around the front of the hives, and then return after 30 minutes or so.

I have recently started feeding, and the bees are still taking plenty of pollen in, mostly Willowherb but also some bright orange pollen, which I'm not sure about.

Are the bees simply stretching their wings, or could it be orientation flights of new brood? The only time I have seen this behaviour was last year prior to loosing a swarm.

Anyone any thoughts or advice?

26-08-2010, 09:43 AM
Hi darlo

I am sure you don't need to worry, it will be the orientation flight of the young winterbees.
Just don't open the hives at exactly that time, as that might confuse them.

I too have noticed the bright orange pollen and wondered what it was. For the last month there was also a lot of light green pollen which puzzled me. Anybody with answers?


26-08-2010, 10:27 PM
I have also noticed several honey bees, (mine I hope) feeding on a Buddleia near to my house, along with several species of hover fly, one of which looks very much like a bee. I have no idea what colour pollen this plant produces.

26-08-2010, 10:45 PM
The orange might be ragwort. Don't know what colour Buddleia pollen is, but it is very unlikely that bees on this plant are collecting nectar, so maybe ....


27-08-2010, 12:09 AM
As far north as Orkney, could the light green pollen be Meadowsweet? It is past down here, but might have been around the past month further north.

27-08-2010, 12:23 AM
Yes, meadowsweet is a possibility. There is lots of it about. The only problem is that I have never seen a bee on it yet, only flies. Is there such a thing as meadowsweet honey?

I'll try to have a look at the ragwort, too.


26-09-2010, 07:29 PM
... Is there such a thing as meadowsweet honey?

Sorry, this is not the topic of this thread, but I have just found a page with the answer to my question above. It's 'no', apparently meadowsweet doesn't supply nectar, only pollen, which is green/yellow.

http://www.die-honigmacher.de/kurs2/Gro%DFes+M%E4des%FC%DF/pflanze_10.html?PHPSESSID=abc7035c2621f023bebcdc3e 47e9cfbe

On the first photo though the bee is sticking her tongue into the flower, so there might be just a little bit of nectar available.