Animal Anecdote 43.
The bee-tree was in a large pasture where a farmer kept heifers to fatten them up before taking them to market. He gave permission to take the bee tree down and Dad scheduled the following Saturday night for that adventure. This was before chain saws so we had a two man crosscut saw and axes for the job. Of course night was chosen when all the honey bees would be in the hive.
We plugged up the hive opening and cut the tree down and then estimated the extent of the hollow in the tree that had been adopted by the bees. We cut the branches and piled them as a brush pile refuge for wildlife. Then we cut two saplings and nailed them to the sides of the trunk of the apple tree and could then carry it like a stretcher. Mother and I each held one end and Dad the other. The nearest tote road was several hundred yards and each of us had about all we could do to carry the weight to our vehicle to get it home.
Dad had set up a commercial bee hive near our garden and we took the apple tree there. All this was done with flash lights. Dad created a tunnel from the apple tree to the bee hive with a car inner tube in which was a device called a bee extractor that permitted bees leaving their apple tree home and into the new hive but not back where the queen was being protected and groomed by worker bees. The Queen’s job was to lay eggs. Hundreds of them daily. When most of the worker bees were no longer bringing nectar to the apple hive the queen after several days left it for her new accommodation.
As I recall when we opened the apple tree we found about 30 pounds of honey and honey comb. Had there been more there would have had a problem carrying the apple tree hive. We eventually had three of those wild honey bee hives to pollinate the vegetation of our garden as well as satisfying everyone’s’ sweet tooth.
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