Thursday, January 24, 2013

Saguaro Hive

Last spring I found and old saguaro that is host to a hive of feral honeybees (Apis mellifera), on a hill just a ten minute walk from my house.  I went to visit them a few days ago to see how the hive is doing after our record low freezing temps last week. I was glad to find them humming audibly in their sunny south-facing hole in the cactus.
On one of our coldest mornings, I had visited another nearby hive in the cliffs of Deem Hills. The bees there had hunkered deep into the crevice that day, but did send one bee out to investigate me. It buzzed at me but passed on by, having determined, perhaps, that I was not a real threat to the colony. A few days later, the bees there are also back to their normal activity, commuting into the neighborhood to gather nectar and pollen.

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