Bee Benevolence How I Rescued a Tree Hive

Dead Tree, Live Bees

The tree had been cut down and only when it hit the ground did the chain saw guy realize a hive of bees was living in a hollow section about 25 feet up. They called me and I went up to see if we could save them.

With a front end loader, we got the trunk into the back of our pickup. When we got home, we used another front end loader to position the trunk in place against a 5 foot concrete pole which was set deep in the ground. We braced it with two ratcheting cables around the bottom half. Joseph made a “hat” that kept the weather out.

Tree hive secured in new place

Hoarding Honey

Because they’d lost their entire store of honey (that part smashed when the tree hit the ground), I fed them back pretty much most of the honey I had from my other hives. That’s why I’m a honey hoarder. When something like this happens, I have enough honey to carry them through to spring.

The hive did really well for a year, but last summer during the drought, the alder started to split and I didn’t think it would make it through another winter.

Found a lost bee?  Read this: How to Rescue a Honeybee

Moving the Tree Hive

Anticipating moving it, I put a two box Warre hive on top, and by fall most of the hive had moved up into it for winter. I really didn’t want to move it at all, but the splits in the sides were getting wider and compromising the hive, so finally in September Joseph and our friend Tel chainsawed off the upper few feet.  Then, with the Warre on top, we moved it under cover about 15 feet away. Traumatic as the move was to me, the bees took it really well.

Rescued tree hive

I was still concerned about the integrity of the trunk, so I decided to put 3 Lang boxes around the base, just in case. The trunk sits snugly inside it and if any splits get bigger, the frame will hold the base together. Because the hive directly faces the wind, I nailed a cross-brace behind it so the wind couldn’t push it that way. Then we tied the whole thing securely to the base of the structure.

Now when the wind blows, I feel a LOT better knowing everyone is safe. If you haven’t done this to your hives, go ahead. It will prevent problems later.

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Jacqueline Freeman


Contributor

Jacqueline and her husband Joseph operate Friendly Haven Rise Farm, a biodynamic farm in southwest Washington. Jacqueline teaches and writes about natural beekeeping, biodynamics, and permaculture - and she is the training director for The Equine Natural Movement School. You can find more of her writing at spiritbee.com.


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4 Comments
  • ellie

    What blessed bees to have you. The honey from those bees will be extra sweet from all of your tender loving care!

  • Jenny

    Good morning Jacqueline ~ your story gives me so much joy and hope. Thank you.

  • Tammy

    I just truly admire your good heart. Our honey bees are truly a precious treasure. One of many priceless gifts from our wonderful creator. The more I learn about them the more I appreciate them. I am always looking and hoping to see them in my yard visiting the clover and always leave some un cut for them. They are dwindling. When I mow my yard I always “brake for honey bees”. I enjoyed your story, thanks for sharing.

  • Laura Jackson

    Wow! Thank you for sharing this amazing story! I watched a vid where two guys rescued and re-homed a hive, so I have a good idea of what’s involved. You’re a bee heroine!

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