This may be an extension of
guarding behaviour or it may be a separate factor.
Following Behaviour in Honey bees
Similarly, it is often associated with
head butting behaviour,
but I am unsure of any direct linkage.
Basically... after colony disturbance a number of bees will
pursue the beekeeper or helper at about head height and for a variable
distance that may extend to hundreds of metres. This may be
accompanied by 'dive bombing' or 'head butting' or maybe just keeping
station with the receding person. Sometimes the person being followed
will report that the bees appeared to be 'staring them in the face'.
I mark fairly heavily against this activity and will requeen
such colonies at the earliest opportunity. The behaviour is compounded
if the followed person is intimidated by the process (I presume 'fear
pheromone' is at work here).
I have a personal feeling that the head height and following
aspects are related to carbon dioxide in exhaled breath (or
haletosis), but I have no "evidence" for my conviction.
Written... 07 December 2001
Revised... 07 December 2001