Feral Bee Hives

Feral hive experience from Ron Bogansky

I have heard about his but never saw one. I received a call last week from a homeowner stating he had a beehive in his tree. I assumed he was talking about a hollow tree. He said they were 20 ft off the ground hanging from a branch. At this point I thought wasps. I told him that it was probably a wasp or hornet nest. He disagreed saying they were confirmed by someone else to be honeybees. My curiosity got the best of me so I went over. Sure enough, there was a large colony hanging from a branch of a spruce tree. He told me they showed up in June, but now he was worried about them. I climbed up the tree part way and took some photos. I told him there wasn’t much I could do now (November). The branches of the tree seem to be protecting them somewhat and possibly they may survive the winter. I know disrupting them would probably be just as harmful. I told him he should have called sooner. He then hinted to something I still find humorous. He said he was curious as to how much the bees were worth (to him?). I was about to explain the benefits of having bees around, but somehow I think he was just thinking dollars.

I know this happens occasionally, but I have never witnessed it before. I don’t know what could have made the bees stay at this location rather than finding a more suitable home. They never cease to amaze me.

Ron Bogansky
Kutztown, (eastern) PA, USA

Some nice photos from Daniel Dempsey.

Daniel D. Dempsey
Red Bluff, CA 96080-0005

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This feral colony was on Army Corp of Engineer land near a lock and dam. It started out in a duck house and progressed outside. It has been there for at least two years. Part of the comb appears to have been broken off or chewed by birds or squirrels. These were taken mid-February.

Dave Caldwell
Columbus, MS 39705

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Gas tank hive.

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This colony was removed in late May and had just finished throwing a swarm, and
possibly another swarm two or three weeks earlier.

What puzzled me was that there was only about 25 pounds of honey and only a very small amount of scattered capped brood and maybe about a half a frame of larva in various stages. Most of the comb was empty. I did not locate a queen so maybe she got coned out on her mating flight. And the cone was only left on for about 5 days.

Joe Waggle