This is the first time I’ve ever seen bees ‘Washboarding”. I would normally put a link in here to Wikipedia as there’s always a page explaining such things – but alas no! Washboarding is one of those things that bees do that is a complete mystery – that is until my amazing discovery!!!
Getting serious again, I didn’t really capture this terribly well only having my mobile phone with me to film it, but its an unmistakable act when you witness bees doing it. Heads down, as if licking the surface they are on, rocking back and forth over repeatedly over the same area. There’s no fanning of their wings and it seems to be only a certain group of bees involved in it – as the others seem to be going about their usual business.
The strange thing is that they were only doing it on the unpainted part of the nuc. This has been noted by other beekeepers who have seen bees washboarding on one super but not another.
This activity has been captured much better on camera by other beekeepers – and probably the best example can be found on YouTube here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbwumXVTOz8
There are also many threads on forums discussing this (just type “Bees Washboarding” into Google) and beekeepers theorising as to what might cause bees to do it – but no solid answers that I could find.
Beekeeping… a mystery wrapped up in a riddle inside an enigma!