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Beehive relocated from Maple Wood Nature Center

A beehive with approximately 7,000 to 9,000 honeybees in it was discovered in the siding of the old sugar house at Maple Wood Nature Center last week. A week later, the honeybees had been taken to a new home.

A woodpecker hole in the side of the building gave honeybees access to the interior of the wall, and they built a hive in short order.
“We knew the bees entering and exiting the hole was new since it is a high traffic area,” LaGrange County Naturalist Scott Beam explained. “The proximity to the trail and to our maple syrup operation meant this location was actually unsafe for the bees and they had to go.”

However, killing the honeybees was not an option, as they are becoming endangered. Beam contacted a local beekeeper who was glad to help and take the honeybees.

On August 7, the beekeeper arrived with tools and honeycomb frames for the hive. The beekeeper and park employees removed the siding from the spot where the hive had been built to access the entire hive.

Beam said that the comb with brood cells (eggs, baby bee larvae, pupae) was transferred carefully to a frame and tied into place so they would be supported by the frame.

“The moment of relief when we felt like this would be successful was when the beekeeper found the queen,” Beam said. The queen was released back into the hive and Beam noted that her presence had a calming effect on the rest of the bees.

The entire process took about two hours and, since many of the bees were still out foraging during the process of moving the hive, they would return to an unoccupied hole. The help them return to the hive, the new hive box was propped up on ladders close to the original hole.

Within a few hours, the majority of the bees had found their new home. By sunset, the bees were gathered inside and relocated to a safe place.

Beam said he plans to share this story, and a small amount of honey from the hive, at the September Breakfast with the Birds, as the topic will be cooking with honey.