This is often interpreted as aggression by humans, it
consists of mobbing the head and to some extent the body of the
beekeeper, by bees flying into the person or the clothing that they
are wearing. In some cases this is associated with stinging, but in
the main it is just a physical bombardment.
4 Winds Strain
Head Butting Behaviour of Honey Bees
Even if stinging is not present it is an unpleasant
experience and detracts severely from the enjoyment of beekeeping. The
constant bombardment has a disorienting effect and this causes most
beekeepers to withdraw more quickly than they otherwise might. This
may well be the reason that the behaviour developed... I suspect that
honey robbing bears would also be disoriented and thus retreat for a
bit of 'peace and quiet'.
I am not sure if there is any direct genetic linkage, but
other behaviours are often associated with head butting...
Biting & Hair pulling
is noticed, Following occurs and
the following bees have been observed keeping station with the eyes of
the beekeeper as if they were staring into them.
With hindsight I wonder if I should have looked at how
these types of colony were managing the varroa mite, because there is
some conjecture that the "Russian" strains, that are to
some extent mite resistant, often exhibit these properties.
I have had some colonies that exhibited each of these
behaviours and some had several in combination. In all cases I
considered them undesirable and requeened them for my own convenience.
Originated... 01 January 2002, Written... 12 Aug 2001