Thousands of bees survive 50 days buried at the edge of La Palma volcano.
The hives had been buried under a layer of ash since the La Palma volcano began erupting in September. The bees in the hives had managed to stay alive for 50 days despite being buried. The hives were located only 600 metres away from the centre of the volcano which first erupted on September 19.
Elías González, president of the Agrupación de Defensa Sanitaria (ADS) Apicultores de La Palma told Efe that from the original six hives belonging to the beekeeper five had been discovered intact. The bees from the five intact hives were rescued alive. The final hive’s occupants died but González believes that they may have died “not because of the volcano, but because they were already weak.”
The rescue operation took place on Saturday. Officers from El Paso’s Local Police carried out the rescue mission along with support from the Military Emergency Unit (UME) and the Guardia Civil. One of the local police officers is a beekeeper.
Three of the hives were completely buried beneath the volcanic ash. The other three hives were partially visible. Officers had to locate the hidden hives and dig all the hives out. During the rescue mission, some of the officers were stung.
In spring the hives can hold anywhere in the region of 30,000 to 40,000 bees. When there are fewer flowers in the area then the hives hold around 20,000 to 25,000 bees.
According to González, the bees were able to survive due to the type of ash that fell this close to the volcano. It is also possible that they survived as they had food reserves because the owner had not removed the summer honey.
González commented that: “Even so, they are resentful, but alive.” Bees are being rescued in other areas too including in the La Laguna district.
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