Putting on a show for the camera

While BB7 was still decide should she stay or should she go, BCW (Bee Catching Wizard) was already off looking for a second bee to put in the main box. It was long before she returned with a Redtail - Queen BumbleBum the 8th!

BB8 in her potAgain, like BB7 she was pretty calm, though obviously we were keen to introduce her to the nest as quickly as possible. We have found that Redtails seem generally a bit more placid and we are currently trying to find Redtails as they are also supposedly less fussy about nesting above ground. They are large and fluffy and very distinctive too!

Using the technique as Bumblebum 7 (see previous entry) she explored the pot for a few moments then wandered quite happily into the nest box. Better still, she was a real darling and wandered straight into line of sight of the box camera! All the time she was there we could see her moving around. She'd stay still for a little while, then move some of the fibres and shuffle around a bit. We dared to hope she was making a little bed for the night (like BB6 did). In fact we don't really know what she was doing with the bedding, other than keeping comfortable and keeping at the right temperature. It's possible that as she moved round from one side of the entrance to another she was moving with the sun to keep at a constant temperature - just a theory.

BB8 on the nest box camera - facing up and left

She stayed for an hour but towards the end of that it seemed obvious she was going to leave the box. She went through the same routine as BB7 - preening and cleaning and stretching herself out. She may have had to heat up too, as the outside of the box was 18 degrees, though the lid was 24 degrees. Either way, it was unlikely to be the required 30 degrees inside the box, so she would have to warm up for herself. We saw her shaking/vibrating on the video, which probably was her warming up.

BB8 on the nest box camera - now facing towards the bottom left just before leaving (stage right!)

There's something quite odd about seeing her leave the screen of the box camera and next minute emerge from the entrance, where we can see her through the window. She was in the box for at least an hour and then crept out. She did something we hadn't seen before - instead of making for the flowers or creeping onto the box she just launched into the air, but did a spiral lift-off of increasing radius. It was perhaps only 2 or 3 revolutions but we wondered if this was the navigation/observational pattern we have read about - where bees will circle, identifying landmarks and getting a handle on their position (I'll be posting a link to some research on this later). Sadly my phone was just too slow to catch this in action. 

We thought maybe this meant she would come back, but she hasn't returned for the night. That's not to say that she won't return tomorrow - we can only wait and see!