Photo Friday: Washboarding

I’ve read about it. I’ve even seen videos posted by other beekeepers. But yesterday I saw it for the first time with my own eyes. And it was right in my own backyard! Well, right on the front of my beehive, that is.

I’m talking about a common activity for bees called washboarding. It’s called that because the rhythmic forward and backward motion of the bees resembles the motion of washing clothes on a washboard. The experts aren’t sure why the bees do it. Some think they are ‘cleaning’ the front of the hive, but there’s no real evidence that’s what they’re really doing.

Regardless of the purpose, it makes for interesting viewing. Click on the Youtube video below to watch the Happy Acres ladies Doin’ The Washboard.’


I went out this morning, and they were doing it again! This time there are fewer bees, and it was a lot quieter outside ;-).’

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3 Responses to Photo Friday: Washboarding

  1. Oh my! I honestly can say that I’ve never witnessed that behavior before, but now I’m going to watch for it! I often see bees on the front of the hive, orienting, or bearding in warm weather, but never in such an organized array. It is quite fascinating that the vast majority of bees are oriented in the same direction. It’s like a flash-mob line dance! I suppose cleaning the hive front makes sense. My bees must be slobs! 😛

  2. kitsapFG says:

    It really does look like they are either cleaning or getting some moisture or residual pollen from the side of the hive. Really interesting behavior! Bees are such magical little be(e)ings!

  3. jody says:

    Very cool. I’ve never heard, nor seen of such a thing ’till now. The music was perfect!

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