Comments on the beehive at Ruthven

Regarding the beehive mentioned in a previous post:

Three local beekeepers have looked at the honeycomb and agree that there is almost certainly a thriving colony inhabiting similar honeycomb inside the tree. The comb you see is probably overflow and was built because the bees had run out of room in the tree. No bee colony could survive a Canadian winter unprotected in external comb like this.

It is quite possible that predators such as racoons might find the comb and destroy it to get at any honey, however this would only be likely during the winter while the bees are semi-dormant inside the tree. Once the weather warms up the bees will keep predators at bay. Only bears seem to be able to successfully raid an active bee hive.

We expect that the colony will re-emerge next spring and probably continue to use this external comb as well as the main part of the hive inside the tree..

Bee colonies throughout the world inhabit cavities. The classic man-made beehive is an adaptation of a natural cavity and is designed to harness the bees natural tendency to keep expanding the size of the colony and storing honey. The beekeeper harvests excess honey leaving the bees enough food to survive the winter.

-Peter Thoem

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