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A Winter Bee Adventure

Lexy Podlesney, Austin Eubanks, and “yours truly” checking out the bee log

That old dead sycamore tree was leaning over the driveway. I knew it was just a matter of time before it fell and blocked the driveway. We knew we had to take it down. It was a branchless snag about 40 feet tall. Up near the top was a large hole made by a pileated woodpecker. We didn’t relish the idea of destroying the woodpecker’s nesting cavity, but it was mid-January, well before the breeding season so there would be no nestlings there.

Our friend Austin fired up his chainsaw. A few minutes later the tree came crashing down and broke into a number of pieces when it hit the driveway. When we looked at the top of the tree where the woodpecker’s cavity was, we realized right away that it was far from vacant; it was full of honeycombs and honey bees! The weather was cool and the bees were hardly flying at all, so we got to sample a little bit of fresh honey without any stings. Yum! We carefully sawed off that piece with the bee colony and took it to the bee yard. We set it on top of my weakest bee colony, put some empty supers around it with a cover on top and hoped for the best. A month or so later during a warm day we checked on the hive. The bees had cleaned out all of the honey from the log and moved down below into the hive. The new bees moving in with new honey stores gave the weak hive a boost and it looked stronger, so we are still hoping for the best.
Viva la buzz!

Lexy Podlesney, Austin Eubanks, and “yours truly” checking out the bee log

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