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Jumping bees

This page is credited in full to Dave Cushman who created it. His voice is expressed in black colour text and any additions or comments in blue belong to myself. Credit: Dave Cushman’s website.



Jumping Behaviour of honey bees under manipulation

There are two aspects to this trait which may exist separately or both together within a colony. The first is the “standing jump” where a stationary bee takes to the air (it usually appears to the observer that they are heading straight for the beekeeper’s veil), but a calm appraisal will establish that it is often quite random.

The second aspect is the “running jump” which is more like an aircraft “take off” and much less likely to be straight at the beekeeper.

Both of these faults put large numbers of bees into the air that then mill around. Such clouds of bees give the impression to non beekeepers that the bees are ‘angry’ and thus give bees and beekeepers a bad name.

We have to score this phenomena again from 0 – 10 with 10 being zero take offs and zero attributed to colonies that launch thousands of bees into the air. I rate colonies that have five or less bees come up as 9, I reserve 10 for no take offs at all, I rate colonies that exhibit both standing and running jumps as lower than those that only show one or the other and I rate standing jumps as slightly less desirable than running jumps.

Scores of 10 are rare and most of my colonies get 8 or 9, I have had a few low scorers in the past, but I have not seen any “bad” examples in my own stocks since I started selecting against the trait about twenty years ago.


Again I just agree with Dave here, this behaviour is a complete pain, and puts these sort of queens are useless for breeding.


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