As of Monday, April 11, 2016
The wind blew down an oak midday on Nov. 3 in Kendra and Conor Kelly’s front yard, a tree the family cherished for its shade and beauty as well as for the live colony of bees in its trunk.
And despite its tumble, the hive and honeycomb were saved through the kind of teamwork that bees could truly admire.
A live hive
When the wind blew down an oak midday on Nov. 3 in Kendra and Conor Kelly’s front yard, hive and honeycomb inside were saved through the kind of teamwork that bees could truly admire.
When the tree blew over, the Kelly family watched it happen, while fearing for the fate of the bees (likely Italian honeybees — apis mellifera ligustica) who were heading into hibernation. The tree split on impact, damaging a neighboring orchard fence and exposing a six-foot long comb — and its 10,000 inhabitants — to the cold.
The Kellys called Grow Organic, who put them in touch with Jim Schlemmer, a Hood River woodworker and beekeeper who not only worked to save the hive but also to keep it in the trunk of the tree. “It’s for the bees, and for the adventure,” he said.
Over the course of four days, Schlemmer and his brother, John, visiting from Cleveland, made three visits to the Kelly home on Kenwood Drive, south of Hood River, and literally pieced the hive back together, wrapping it in straps, putting it on a trailer, and relocating it to Schlemmer’s home on Eby Road, where they laboriously set it upright.
“We were lucky it happened in cold weather, as they were pretty calm,” Schlemmer said. Both brothers picked up a few stings in the process, however.
The hive will have a permanent place — at least as long as the bees decide to stay. Schlemmer said he’ll know in the spring.
A live hive
A tree containing a live colony of bees blew down in a local family's front yard. Find out what happened next by reading the story here: bit.ly/1MJKdu2.