An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Exposed Honeybee Colony

honeycomb IMG_5036In the Northeast, honeybees typically choose a protected site such as a hollow tree in which to build their hive. Harsh winters demand this protection. Infrequently you will see where an attempt has been made to survive the elements without anything to contain the heat that the honeybees produce by shivering, or to block the wind, snow or sleet. Inevitably, this far north, the colony does not survive the winter.

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6 responses

  1. Where I used to live in Western Michigan we found a bee tree nearby. It was a huge (3’+ diameter) Black Cherry that was mostly hollow along 30′ of trunk. The hive that literally dripped out of it was many years old. It was regularly raided by animals but continued to thrive year after year. What a sound it made on a sunny day!

    March 9, 2015 at 8:37 am

    • Fantastic! The only bee tree I’ve seen was in Florida, and the comb sections were over four feet long — amazing creatures!

      March 9, 2015 at 9:06 am

  2. June Albright

    Where is that hive?

    March 9, 2015 at 8:42 am

    • Near North Pomfret, Vermont, June. But I’m afraid it’s long gone.

      March 9, 2015 at 9:05 am

  3. Amateurs! 😉 Joking aside, I do find it sad that all that effort was a loss. With the plight of the bees, we need every hive we can get.

    March 9, 2015 at 6:38 pm

  4. pajcastle

    I wonder if reporting a find of that kind,(while the hive is still alive), to a local apiarist, or Apiary Society, for collection would be worthwhile. Apiarists in my area are always keen to acquire some of the local wild queens, when they can get one, and I only report such a find to the couple of RESPONSIBLE beekeepers that I know. Last year, a colony in one of my very hollow, long-occupied bee trees sent out a new queen and a swarm. I followed them, watched them colonize a very old pin-cherry that had a nice,trunk-long hollow, lots of cherry sap, narrow opening adequate to defeat most predation. The new colony was established 1/2 mile from the originator, happy apple trees here!

    March 10, 2015 at 11:11 am

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