New nucs, bees congregating at the entry ways.

by Lowell Turner
(Gonzales, Texas)

I got two nucs on 7 April (my first try at beekeeping), installed them yesterday the 11th. Far as I could tell, everything seemed OK, though I've not yet inspected for queens or eggs. Today's pretty breezy, so I'm reluctant to open the top other than to check the level in the in-hive feeders.

Both nucs have what seems like a lot of bees hanging around the entry. Also, there's a pretty good airborne crowd buzzing around the front. There doesn't seem to be any confrontation, so I don't think it's outsiders or drift, but I do know that while we're pretty well out in the country, there are bees in the area. FWIW, the two hives are about 25 feet apart, both facing the same direction.

When I peek in, there's plenty of activity on the tops of the frames, in the middle of the hive, and appears to be steady work going on between the frames as well, and they're making use of the sugar water.

Is the front porch loitering anything to be concerned about?

Thanks,

Lowell

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Hi Lowell,

I very much doubt that you have cause for concern.

You do want to be sure that the entrances are restricted to a small opening so that the bees can easily guard against robber bees. You can open the entrances wider as the colonies gain strength.

But my guess would be that most of what you're seeing is just the bees becoming accustomed to their new home.

I bet if you'll look closely at a lot of the "airborne crowd" buzzing around in front, you'll find that many of those bees aren't really going anywhere. They're probably flying around in big circles in front of and around the hive.

Those bees are orienting themselves to the location of the hive. Young bees do that before they start foraging, and older bees do it too, after a move to a new location. They 'mark' the location of the hive relative to the sun before they fly off to begin foraging. Remarkably, once they've done that they can fly off in any direction and unerringly find their way back to the hive.

So my guess (and of course, from a distance it can only be a guess) is that all is well.

Good luck, and I hope you have a great first season in beekeeping!

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