It happens to all beekeepers.
You’ve done your homework (you think) on backyard beekeeping. You built (or ordered) a hive. You received your bees, and even managed to get them into your hive without getting stung!
And then it happens…right around dinnertime…your bees go CRAZY!
Are they swarming? Do they hate their new hive? Are they going to all fly away? Did something get in the hive that shouldn’t be there? WHAT’S GOING ON?!?!?!
Relax, new-bee. (See what I did there?) Your bees are most likely just participating in their first training flight.
A training flight is how new, adolescent bees learn to remember where the hive is when they first go off foraging. It usually happens an hour or two before sunset, and it’ll happen just about every sunny day for the lifetime of your hive. The bees you are seeing are taking their first flights outside the hive, and you’ll notice they’re all facing in exactly the same direction, towards the hive.
Basically, they’re imprinting the hive’s location in reference to the sun and also what their hive looks like from the outside. And more importantly, they’re doing just fine. The show lasts for about 20-30 minutes, and then your bees will head back in the hive, ready to begin their lives as foragers from there on out.
So fear not, beekeeper. This will be a long, weird journey of bee ownership, and about 90% of the time, you’re not going to have any idea what these little buggars are doing. But the training flight need not be one of your worries.