Wild Bees on a Cold Day: An adventure with a wild bee colony!

I received this email from Joseph on October 31, 2011. I thought I would share this awesome story with you!


The hive that I recovered was in Cardston Alberta, 1/2 hour sw from Lethbridge. I had been in Cardston for 2 days doing arborist work. Yesterday,I  built a new fortress for the bees that I rescued. Before working on their saving their nest, I went and I bought a full body mosquito suit and some elbow gloves but I didnt have to use them. When I got there, it was going to snow and I was worried that the bees would freeze. The bees were in the tree all huddling together and there was a large section of comb in the cavity still intact under a protective shelf where the queen must have been. It was starting to blizzard. The wind and snow was hitting them as they were balling around the queen – they were positioned so they had a bit of a roof because the angle of the cut I made that cut their hive open.


That night I added some wood under them and sealed the top with plastic. They all buzzed happily when the cold draft stopped. Previously, when I initially cut th tree down, I sensed that the bees wanted me to help them. I just had to do something to help them. The next day I was able to cut the tree section containg the hive out of the rest of the tree and roll it into the corner of the yard and set it up intact- I carved them a  lid with a tunnel entrance and a smaller cover with a smaller opening for that bugger tunnel  cover and a few vents – I used some of the wax and honey that I took to seal the structure.  The small top lid can be opened to check on them.


I wonder how much airflow they need and would they rather have it sealed more and less ventilation for the winter?  Now I have a small top hole that is far from them  – a side hole that they come out of that is closer where they are balled together and a side vent opposite them but at the same level.  

I called the hutterites beekeper and was surprised at the hutterites ‘bee man’ answer – his dad was a bee man too- they sent yet another bee man from another colony other than the one I called – they all agreed to put them in a black plastic bag and drop them at the dump. They said it was not enough honey to matter anything- only about 8lbs. I guess they are used to dealing in large volumes. The owner of the restaurant, on the other hand,   is a buddhist priest- they are very respectful to all life even insects – she is very happy that I have saved them and likes the small bee temple/fortress I have constructed with my chainsaw and pieces of the tree. Before she said she felt very bad that we cut the tree and wrecked there house, but was happy that I was able to do my best for them, and not take them to the dump.

thank you for beeing there,

all the best,


Well, I have to say, this is an exciting tale of bee-care. I think it is important that we take a lesson from Joseph and believe in the true resilience of the honeybee species. I hope that he will have good news for us in the spring, and that these bees will continue to thrive in their new home!


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