There’s a bewitching hour at my hives. It’s the hour when the youngest bees have their little orientation party (they’re 3-4 days old when they do this…and they orient at this hour for several days in a row), and it’s also the hour when the drones fly out to their congregation area. At my hives, these two things occur sometime between 3:15 and 4:30 PM and it last for 20-45 minutes.
Many days you’ll catch me just standing in the yard watching this flurry—I just stand there. Or I go stand right next to the hive to see it better. It’s a completely mesmerizing scene, and I never tire of it. For some reason it reminds me of kittens or puppies playing.
And I usually stand watching just as I’ve come home from work…before I even get into the house. Which is exactly what I think is going on at the hives, too…work has wound down for the day, the kids head out to play in the yard for a while after finishing their chores, the guys go off to hang out together and talk about guy things, and the workers all over the hives are saying, “Ahhh. A few minutes of alone time here before they all come back in and sit on the porch.”
I think I love it because it’s so rhythmic. The entire hive cycle is rhythmic. And the sight of all those young bees orienting is a sure sign that things are good in the colony.