Last night I could not sleep so about 4 am I decided I might switch on the computer and test the suggestion that the chipped bees at Floriade, whose data appears on the NSPYRE website, might not be flying far at night – perhaps just doing a little housekeeping or going on cleaning flights.


All went well at first.   After almost an hour I started to see some data for those who had been captured when they went out as they returned.  they had been out for about 35 minutes – a little shorter than the 40 minutes which seemed typical for many journeys during the day.  At 4.36 (UK time) which is 5.36 in the Netherlands, this flow of data seemed to pause – rain, I thought.  Confirmed by some weather information near to Venlo.Image

I decided to wait until some of the bees came home – imagining them sheltering somewhere as some had left the hive only minutes before.  The torrential June rain outside made me think it could be similar weather in Northern Europe.  I was becoming somewhat exhausted, wondering why I had been mad enough to leave my bed in the first place.  After an hour of no new data I decided to wait just 10 minutes more.  At least, I thought tomorrow I could check to see those who had left reappeared at some stage.

Sadly, after oversleeping, I found that the logging system was still showing the same information.  I might as well have had at least an hour’s more sleep.  Oh well, the life of a beekeeper is unpredictable.  I spent about 7 hours chasing a swarm yesterday and so another hour here or there is hardly a great matter.




About apiarylandlord

Definitely past it - whatever it was - I may have blinked and missed it. New to beekeeping and totally entranced by the experience. That is probably all you need to know until I work out how secure this blog is. Great fan of recycling - see ilovefreegle.org to find your local group. Save things from landfill. Pass on your surplus, locally, for free or ask for things you need in case you can have someone's cast off again for free.
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3 Responses to Timing!

  1. Emily Heath says:

    Thanks for giving up your sleep to find this out for us… 35 minutes seems like a very long toilet break, they must be foraging at night then?!

    • Yes; I deduced it was highly likely they were foraging. Would have liked a few more returner sightings. I’ll paste some of the movements below. 101536 Michelle out 04:56 101528 Lisette out 04:43 101526 Pia out 04:42 101525 Eggy out 04:41 101524 Marijke out 04:41 101523 Petra out 04:40

      101554 Julia in 05:11 101547 Marijke in 05:08 101546 Petra in 05:07 101543 Su in 04:59 101543 Su in 04:59 101541 Marjon in 04:58 101540 Wilke in 04:58

      Notice our old friends Wilke and Marjon left but had not returned – their normal forage time is 40 minutes or so. It is possible that Petra’s shorter journey is a norm for her. Yet more questions – I’ll try and see if I have any history for Petra’s foraging. Remember Netherlands is an hour ahead so they left about 3.40 am our time – still dark here. The project has logged more than 100,000 bee flights now! Wish I had all the data.


      • Emily Heath says:

        Incredible, I had always assumed that they would not forage at night. For a start nectar collection is meant to occur in temps from 12C upwards, although perhaps they could be after pollen? Unless night time is warmer than 12C in the Netherlands.

        ‘The Buzz about Bees’ mentions that different foragers almost have different personalities – “The foraging intensity of different individual bees is also not the same. There are lazy foragers that are content with a mediocre one to three foraging trips a day. There are also true honeybee workaholics that achieve ten or more foraging flights per day. The different personalities of the apparently identical members of a colony are revealed only after long-term observation of their behaviour” (p66). Could explain why Wilke and Marjon stay out late but Petra comes home early!

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