Another day of education and intrigue.
It was a beautiful warm day today and the bees were out and busy searching for nests. By lunchtime both our boxes were fully prepared to our satisfaction so BCW (bee-catching wizard) went off hunting.
It wasn't long before she returned with a fairly placid bufftail. We decided this should go in the box at the back, as we wanted to reserve the front box (with the camera) for a redtail - since they are a bit less fussy.
The new regime with the extended cardboard entrance works well and seems to avoid the bee getting stressed. But this little madame was either being stubborn or very slow! She refused to go into the box and simply stuck her bum in the entrance!
She didn't get stressed or angsty during this, she just backed a little into the entrace and stayed put! She seemed quite happy so we removed the pot and she just stayed there. She actually stayed for about half-an-hour on the cardboard at the front of the box.
She stayed there quite happily and I was able to get some nice pictures and video. We are still learning about this behaviour: how much of it is assessing the environment (e.g. for danger), how much is getting a sense of bearings/navigation, how much is warming up again ready for flight etc. We can only assume that if the bee is happy to stay for 30 mins or longer they do not feel in immediate peril or danger; and I think we've seen enough activity to assume they are not paralysed with some kind of shock.
Towards the end of the 30 minutes she went through a (now familiar) pattern, which looks like a very rigourous preening: cleaning head, and legs and abdomen and fluffing up and stretching out (video to follow). We couldn't stay observing her, but sometime over the next hour she left, pretty much as we expected. So this bumbling little bee never made it into the box at all!
Not to worry, we had more excitement to come...