Saving bees in a BIG old avocado tree

LA Backwards Beekeeper Roberta writes:

This hive came crashing to the ground unexpectedly. The avocado tree it was in is thought to be the second oldest avocado tree in Southern California and has being doing great for years. One day this Pasadena family heard a loud crashing sound as one of the tree limbs broke and hit the ground. Luckily no one was hurt.

A hive must have set up in the hollow of the dead tree limb. The colony didn't seem to be fazed by the change in location and continued to fly in and out of the limb. It shocked the homeowner to find a beehive in addition to a 20 foot branch on the ground. Luckily they knew about us. And their son, Rory, knew one of our own beekeepers, Julia.

We arranged a time that Julia and her mother could meet Ceebs and me to relocate the hive to Julia's nuc. Julia is working with bees and creating her senior project around them. Rory was interested In working with the bees so he also joined in with a loaner veil. His mom, dad and sister looked on from a distance and were very excited about the whole process.

We first took a chainsaw and opened up the branch and then Julia cut out the comb. It was tiny bunch of bees and they were super nice. They just kept on flying in and out despite the noise of the chainsaw.

There wasn't much comb to save, but we did what we could. Julia returned at night and all the bees were inside the nuc. The bees are now with Julia and doing well but given their current size, the colony will need more bees to be able to make it through the winter. Julia is already working on getting another cutout to combine with this one. She's a natural with the bees and will soon be able to mentor others—and she's still in high school.