Written by: Simon Holden, Manager – Programs and Services
A few weeks back we discovered a honey bee hive in a hollowed out tree near one of our mountain bike trails. It also happened to be located right next a new trail feature we were installing so we needed to do something about it. Extermination seemed like the easy answer, but knowing a little bit about the current plight of honey bees: it didn’t seem like the right solution.
Instead we contacted a beekeeper through the Ontario Beekeepers Association who was able to come out and take a look.
In order to have any chance of extracting the bees, we would need to cut down the tree. Fortunately the tree had been damaged in the ice storm last winter, and would need to come down at some point anyway. Some good came out of the ice storm! Even with the tree down, it wasn’t a guarantee that the beekeeper would find the queen, and lure the bees away. It was still worth a try.
After some expert (and some might say scary with all the bees flying around) chainsaw work by Rob and Jeff, we were able to fell the tree and cut it in to chunks. Paul was able to help us move the tree chunks with the tractor to a new location: not too far away but far enough off the trail that it no longer posed a hazard to our trail users.
I just had a quick update from Les, the beekeeper and thought you might be interested.
He was out yesterday to check on the logs in their new location and was lucky enough to spot the queen while he was here! He installed a box above the logs, placed some of the combs, and the queen in there. He was back again today and the box is now almost full! Activity around the original site (where we cut the tree down) is almost nil and he speculates almost all of the bees have found their new home. He’s going to leave it a few more days until we see some cooler weather, and then come to remove his box along with all of the bees.
Thanks for everyone’s assistance with this! It’s a small victory but I think we definitely did the right thing here.
For more information about Conservation Halton and our Natural Spaces, please visit our website at conservationhalton.ca.