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The drifting of honey-bees

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 March 2009

J. B. Free
Affiliation:
Bee Department, Rothamsted Experimental Station

Extract

1. Most of the bees which drift do so during their orientation flights and before they become regular foragers.

2. Bees emerging in August and September drift less than those emerging earlier in the year.

3. Drifting varies considerably in different circumstances, and may be extensive.

4. Drones drift two to three times as frequently as workers.

5. An individual bee is more likely to drift from a small to a large colony than vice versa, but the greater number of bees flying from the large colonies may result in a net gain in bees by the smaller ones.

6. When hives are arranged in repetitive patterns, bees drift to hives occupying similar positions in the pattern to their own. When hives are arranged in rows, bees from the centre colonies drift more than those at the end, resulting in the latter colonies gaining numerically. In some circumstances, more bees drift to hives in one direction than in the opposite direction.

7. Facing hives in different directions and painting them different colours considerably reduces drifting, the facing of hives in different directions being of the greater significance.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1958

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