Thousands Of Bees Buried By Volcanic Ash For 50 Days Are Alive And Well

We hear a lot about bees, mostly because it seems as if they are disappearing at an alarming rate. More and more often, we are becoming aware of just how important those insects are to the survival of the human race.

On the Canary Islands, a volcanic eruption on La Palma ended up burying five beehives with volcanic ash.

It took a long time before they were finally able to dig the beehives out, but after spending 50 days under the ash, the bees are doing quite well.

Photo: Pixabay/VP68

It seems as if the bees were able to seal any holes in the hive using a material they create known as propolis. Since it kept the ash out of the hive, they would not die as a result of it.

They had plenty of winter honey stored up on the inside of the hive so they could eat during that time. Fortunately, the keepers had not collected the hive honey before the volcanic eruption took place.

These were more than just local honey producers. Up to 40,000 bees would be in each of the hives in the spring, providing pollination throughout the islands.

Photo: Pixabay/Josch13

Interestingly, most rescuers did not suffer any stings, although a few did get stung once or twice. There was also a sixth hive that didn’t survive, which may have been due to the location. Interestingly, if a hive was closer to the volcano, the ash was less harmful.

Not only did the bees use propolis to block the hives and keep the ash out, but it is also used as an antibiotic.

Photo: flickr/Emma Jane

Humans have also eaten propolis, and today, it is a common cold remedy and sold as a supplement for immune support.

See the hives below:

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