One thing you don't expect the day after Christmas is a call about bees. We received a call from a friend whose son had cut into a hive while cutting wood. This particular acquaintance has had his share of run-in's with our flighty friends and has called us several times before. He knew the bee squad responds to calls in rain, sleet, snow, and despite post-holiday food induced comas.
Upon arrival, we witnessed a freezing flurry of activity coming from a freshly cut oak log. Our friends had unknowingly chosen a feral colony's home as their firewood and the bees were unamused at the disruption of their winter's slumber.
Upon inspection, Greg decided that some rubber mats would do the trick. The chain saw had cut directly into the colony and left the entire hive exposed; the mats were cut into strips and nailed onto the log to cover the damage (this was to mainly keep the rain out). A piece of plywood was used to cover the exposed end of the hollow log. We think this solution will keep the rest of the colony safe until Spring and that if the queen survived the "chainsaw massacre", they should be in good shape. If she didn't survive, they have little chance of making it through the winter.
We will go back in the Spring and check on the status of this hive. If they are survivors, we will relocate them to a new home on the farm.
Feral Honeybees are a valuable asset to your collection of hives. These survivor hives have proved strong through winters already, without chemicals. The idea is to raise your queens from strong, survivor hives so that you can introduce them to hives to breed stronger, healthier bees, with little to no chemicals. Finding and making use of these feral survivor colonies could be the key to saving bee keeping.