Sawing the "Bee Tree" Open

A favorite home for feral (non-managed) honey bees, is inside the hollow of a tree. The entrances to these hollows are above ground and very often higher up the trunk, and the bees coming and going will not bother people in the surrounding area, even if it is densely populated. If an arborist determines that the hollow has compromised the structural integrity of the tree, it will probably need to be removed. In that case, the section with the bee hive can be closed with screen, removed in one section, and a beekeeper can open the trunk and salvage the bees.

While this "bee tree" was discovered and moved to the JCC Camps at Medford, NJ for the New Jersey Beekeepers Association (NJBA) a few weeks before the June 6, 2009 meeting, the bees did not survive. However, NJ State Apiarist Tim Schuler is shown here wielding a chain saw to show how the tree would be opened to salvage the comb and bees. Since the bees had not survived, protective clothing wasn't needed.

(Photo by Janet A. Katz)

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