Late in October 2010, before the rains started in earnest for the year, we did some burning on “Hell’s Half Acre”, our Oak Savanna restoration project here on the ranch. The burning was done to get rid of endemic poison oak and invasive blackberries, salmonberries and Douglas Fir trees, among others, that had pretty much over-run the entire oak savanna.
Before we could do the burning, we had to go through and cut down a bunch of the trees that were there — bigger Douglas Fir and ash and hemlock trees that did not belong in the savanna. We had a crew of guys do the work. They cut down a tree that had a beehive flourishing in its hollow center. They tried to salvage the beehive and took it out of the area to be burned, tried to put a lid on it to protect it where it was exposed to the air, and the hive was quite alive and humming with activity in October when we did the burning. I had planned to put the hive in our garden, and I took the tractor up to the landing today, but alas the hive was dead; no activity at all.
There was, however, some honeycomb left. I pulled some of it out and carried it home in my gloved hand, dripping onto my boots along the way.
Sad that they didn’t make it. Maybe the bees just moved? Was the honey any good?
Yes, we are hoping that the bees simply moved somewhere else. They weren’t dead — they were just gone.
The honey that dripped out of it tasted good. But when I took a piece of the honeycomb and tried to melt it in the microwave to get the honey separated out of it, the whole thing stank unbelievably (mouse droppings, I think, that were mixed in with the honeycomb). I gagged on the odor and wound up throwing it out. Now the microwave stinks….