If you were a honeybee looking for a good home, a hollow tree would be an ideal location. A bee colony needs to be protected from the cold weather in Colorado during the winter months, and a tree offers that protection. Let's talk about the birds and bees! Birds like to live in trees for the same reason. Woodpeckers will drill holes in the tree trunk looking for insects to eat. Some trees like Cottonwoods and Willows are hollow, so a woodpecker can make it possible for the honeybees to enter a tree and live in the hollow area. In the spring, a scout bee will locate a suitable tree with plenty of room inside and tell the swarm of bees by doing a bee dance. A short time later the rest of the swarm moves into the tree. Once the bees move into the tree, there is no easy way to get them out besides cutting the tree down. Schultz Honey & Wax has spent a great deal of time trying to save the honeybees in trees. We work with tree services to remove the portion of the tree where the bees are living and transport that section to the bee yard. Once at the bee yard, the tree is split open and the bees and honeycomb are relocated to a standard beehive. This is very labor intensive. We have also noticed that only a small percentage of the colonies survive this process. The owner of the bee tree can spend hundreds of dollars with marginal results.
We now recommend a more reasonable and less expensive solution. If the tree is ready to be taken down, which means it is a safety issue, then hire an exterminator to kill the bees. This helps the tree service cut down the tree without getting severely stung. For their safety have the bees taken care of a week or so before the tree is cut down. Do not exterminate the bees in the tree and leave it standing. Robber bees will take the contaminated honey to their hive and people could unknowingly eat it. This is why you need to cut the tree down and have the honeycomb destroyed by burning or burying. Simply running it through a chipper will not get rid of the poison.
We do receive a few calls for beehives for pollination purposes. A bee tree can be transported to a farm or rural area. We do not recommend bees kept in a city because of swarms moving into homes. If you need bees for pollination purposes and have no intention of eating the honey, then call Schultz Honey & Wax, and we will place you on a list for recycled bee trees.