Washboarding

Ah, these fascinating bees. There’s so much I want to learn! What a humbling relationship. We beekeepers refer to this behavior as “washboarding.” Worker bees between 13 and 25 days old rock back and forth on their back four legs and appear to lick and polish the interior and exterior walls of the hive body. It is theorized that they are smoothing and cleaning the surface to minimize opportunities for pathogens to dwell. Wild colonies residing in hollow tree cavities will propolize the entire interior of the nest space creating a healthy barrier around the colony. Perhaps the workers are attempting the same on these smooth planed hives we offer them. In the epilogue to his phenomenal book, “The Buzz about Bees: Biology of a Superorganism,” Jurgen Tautz writes “[The] presence... of healthy honeybees... can be maintained only if we understand the inner life and functions of the bee colony superorganisms so well that we are able to support and protect them when needed, in a focused way.” Indeed.

Video:

https://www.facebook.com/apiopolis/videos/366568667353980/