More than beard of bees comes out of Minden tree
Nevada Appeal News Service
MINDEN ” It was a living, buzzing engineering puzzle.
How do you get 50,000 bees and their 30-pound hive down 20 feet from an apple tree without doing any damage?
That was the problem Minden resident Lori Salvador faced recently after she discovered a hive 2-and-a-half feet across in her tree.
“I found it several weeks ago when the leaves started falling in mid-October,” Salvador said. “I called the extension office and they referred me to several bee keepers, but when I called I couldn’t get anyone to pick them up.”
The advice Salvador received was to call the exterminator.
That seemed wrong to Salvador, so she shared her problem with her boss, Christine O’Farrell, who happened to have a solution.
O’Farrel’s husband, Mark, owns Hungry Mother Organics, which raises organic vegetables. He has a lease with the department of prisons for greenhouses at the farm in Carson City. Mark O’Farrell took a look and decided he could rescue the hive.
“Lori was really persistent,” he said. “She really wanted to keep them alive. Honey bees provide a critical pollination process for crops. It would be a shame to have to snuff 50,000 of them out.”
O’Farrell said that usually bees seek a closed space for their hives, like the inside of a building.
“Every once in a while they build on the outside of something,” he said. “I’ve only ever seen a couple of hives outside of a structure, where they build on the outside of something. In this tree you could see all the comb and watch the bees working.”
The real challenge was to figure out which branches to cut from around the hive.
Once O’Farrell had that figured out, he brought out the smoke.
“We smoked them a little bit first,” he said. “That settles them down. The hive was so far up in the tree, and it had been there for months. It was a big, heavy hive full of honey.”
Once O’Farrell and 16-year-old son Dan got started it took about 45 minutes to get the hive down from the tree.
“We slipped a seed sack over the hive, then tied off the limb before we cut it. You don’t want to drop it, because then you have 50,000 bees, whose hive has been destroyed and they’re looking to sting something.
After they got it down on the ground, O’Farrell took it to his greenhouse.
“My wife wanted an observation hive, so I put it on the ground put in the green house, and put a Plexiglas door on the front,” he said. “You can open it up look right in and see what they do.”
O’Farrell calls himself a hobbyist when it comes to bees.
“I used to keep bees as part of the farming business, but now I do it as a hobby,” he said. “I’m not really a beekeepers, but I keep hives around to help in the vegetable business. Bees right now are under an extreme amount of pressure.”
Salvador said she’s glad to have been able to save the bees.