Bees fanning at the entrance of a hive is a behavior we watch often – it happens most often in the evenings when the foragers are heading back into the hive.
When the bees are fanning with their butts high up in the air, they’re releasing a pheromone called the Nasonov pheromone – this is used for guidance and direction.
This video shows some of our girls fanning away at the entrance of their hive. We learn a bit more about bee behavior every day while we observe these interesting little creatures.
Fanning isn’t just used as a homing signal the forager bees back home, it is also used to regulate the temperature inside the hive by circulating air through the hive. It’s easy to recognize the difference in these two fanning behaviors. The homing signal is like that video and image above, while fanning for ventilation has them with their bums facing towards the hive. This behavior also helps to evaporate the water off the nectar stores and reduce the water content in the nectar to safely store it as honey. This fanning dehydrates the nectar stores to create honey that has 18% moisture content and is an extremely dry, liquid substance.