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The other evening I received a call that a bee tree was located at a nearby golf course. We had just had a strong wind storm come through the area a short time before I received this call. The caller, a golfer in his early seventies, said that he had smelled smoke while on the golf course. He investigated it and found a tree that had been split, exposing honey bees and comb. The tree, he said, was still smoldering from a fire and he quickly gathered some water to extingiush it. This gentleman said he wanted to save the bees and would help me collect them as he used to be a beekeeper.

I arrived at near dark and looked at the tree. There was comb from ground level to well over my head ( approx. 8 feet high) and several thousand bees. The tree was still burning on one side and we were able to chop out the burning wood. We used a flashlight to cut comb and attach them to frames, all the while being careful to look for the queen. The bees never seemed alarmed and were never flighty. We cut the night short as we were having trouble seeing what we were doing and returned the next morning. I asked a co-worker of mine, who works the late shift, to check on the tree. He did and found a skunk on the tree that he had ran off.

When we returned the next morning the skunk had done considerable damage to the comb. The bees were still calm. I noticed that I was having to move a lot of dirt that was piled up on the comb. I removed all of the comb and salvaged what wasn't burned, melted, or caked with dirt. Bees were crawling around with melted wax stuck to them. We were giving up on finding the queen and was packing our things up when I saw a ball of bees on the ground. I fished through the bees and found the queen! She walked up my glove and I placed her into the hive box. By now the bees were fanning the box.

The course owner came over to speak with us and thank us. (Remember...I thought the tree had blew over in the storm and possibly struck by lightning) He told us that he pushed the tree over with a bulldozer, six weeks ago (exposed to the elements for 6 weeks) and realized it had a large nest of, what he thought was yellow jackets in it. He then used a tractor and dumped a full load of dirt on the hive. He said that he had some workers that then set the tree on fire. Well, I spoke to those workers and they also thought that they were yellow jackets. They told me that they sprayed two cans of wasp and hornet spray on the hive and then set the tree on fire.

The next morning (2 days after the initial call) I placed what we had gathered into their new home. The bees never offered to head butt me or even act like they wanted to sting. I did away with all of the old comb that I had gathered and gave them fresh drawn comb. I looked closely at the queen and noticed that she is missing a good portion of one of her wings. I sure hope she makes it or at least lays me enough eggs for some queens.

Sorry about the book but this is the coolest cut-out I've done. If they make it... This is truely survivor bees and some of the calmest I have ever seen. I could not have done any of it without the help of the elderly golfer that wanted to save the bees.
 

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Good story like you said if you can just get enough eggs to get some queen cells going you will have captured the survivor traits
 

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Well.... you don't have to worry about the queen flying off!. lol
Bees are resilient and can survive many things, even being sprayed.
It still amazes me though that there are still so people out there that are so ignorant. One would think that with the advent of the computer (and google), people would be more informed about their surroundings.
Tough bees anyway. Keep us in the loop.
 

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Interesting story for sure, I hope it works out for you! Six weeks wide open to the world is crazy. But how long ago had he started the tree on fire?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Interesting story for sure, I hope it works out for you! Six weeks wide open to the world is crazy. But how long ago had he started the tree on fire?
The tree was sprayed and set on fire earlier the same day I received the call. The dirt had been dumped a few days prior.
 
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