I received a call and the e-mailed picture in this blog from an employee of Early Mountain Winery about bees in a hollow base of a Locust tree. The tree was part of a stand that was being cleared to prevent an infestation of Grape Berry Moths. Was there anyway I could come over and look at the bees and see if I could  save them?  This is the type of phone call a beekeeper waits for – and it turned out to be worth it!

My husband and I went over that afternoon and it looked as if the bees would be easy to get to, but there was too many flying to try and save right then. We decided to come back over early the next morning when the temperatures were low enough (below 40⁰) that the bees would still be clustered and sluggish.

We arrived the next morning armed with buckets for the honey comb, nuc boxes for any brood and bees, and lots of enthusiasm about saving a wild hive. It seemed unconventional to the on-lookers of winery employees when I started cutting the comb away with an old butcher knife. The outer the comb was empty and it wasn’t until I cleared away the empty comb that I found the cluster and brood nest. I carefully cut each comb away that had bees clinging to it and put it in a sealed nuc box, filling two boxes with comb and bees. I also had help from a wary assistant – the man who was clearing the trees and found the bees. He used his chain saw wearing a bee suit to cut sections off the tree stump making sure we got all the comb and bees.

I installed the recovered combs with bees in a small nuc in my apiary, and the bees seem to be doing just great. I hope to put those same bees back into a hive at the winery in the spring.

And what about the honey? I extracted the extra honey and put it in small jelly jars for the winery employees to share. All reports I’m getting is everyone is loving their honey!