Why do bees raise their abdomen almost straight up in the air?

Q: Recently, after removing the telescoping top for inspection, I noticed LOTS of bees on top of the inner cover, and all seemed to have their abdomen raised in the air, almost straight up. I’ve not seen this before, and wondered if it is an alarm action. This was also after a cool night, and I was not using smoke.

Thanks, G. McHenry

A: They are fanning their Nasonov glands. If you look closely you can see the gland; this is to lead the other colony members back to the hive.

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