Oak Park family finds massive beehive hidden in fallen tree

A sweet discovery

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

The 100 block of North Elmwood Avenue was buzzing with extra activity on July 25.

The commotion, however, started around 6 a.m. on July 24 when a storm swept through the area — taking down a hefty-sized tree in the front yard of the Steketee family home.

The situation could have been disastrous for a homeowner, but it turned into a sweet surprise when Tina and John Steketee and their 9-year-old son, Jack, discovered a beehive inside the toppled tree.

Tina said they heard and felt the effects of the tree falling in the early morning hours. When they ran out to see what happened, they found a colony of bees peacefully nestled in the tree.

They started taking pictures, which awoke the colony, and the family quickly ran inside to call friends and neighbors to see their newest front-yard nature scene.

"We were in awe," Tina said. "I've never seen a honeycomb so large."

A handyman in the area, Bruce Faland, got word of the bee discovery and stopped by to ask if he, a bee advocate and beekeeper, could save the bees and have them transported. The Stekettes agreed and first thing Wednesday morning the crews got to work collecting honey and vacuuming up the remaining bees to transfer to a new colony.

A member of Cook DuPage Beekeepers Association took on the tough job of gathering the honey makers, though the bees didn't seem to notice the keeper's presence as he collected the estimated 15,000 bees.

Faland said it's rare to see so many honeybees survive this long in the state they were found. Honeybees are not as common as they once were, he said, and typically they would have died off almost instantly when the tree came apart.

"This is a pretty strong hive," he said, adding that he jumped at the chance to save them since large hives are a rarer and rarer find.

"Everything on the planet depends on bee's pollination," Faland observed.

Contact:
Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

6 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Ellen Klein from Oak Park  

Posted: July 26th, 2012 11:26 AM

Please don't forget to follow up on this story - would love to know how our Oak Park bees are adapting to their new home!

Kelly  

Posted: July 26th, 2012 9:12 AM

Yah! This is one of many reasons I LOVE Oak Park. :)

Randal Birkey from Oak Park  

Posted: July 26th, 2012 8:41 AM

It's great to see such a positive outcome. In many places bees are seen as pests and are exterminated. Hat's off to beekeeper Bruce Faland for being on hand and and suggesting the right thing to do, and following through. For more information on bees and beekeeping visit http://www.beesource.com.

God bless the beekeepers! Thanks so much for this story!  

Posted: July 26th, 2012 12:00 AM

I just read this quote yesterday, "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left." Albert Einstein

Marcia Myers from Huntley  

Posted: July 25th, 2012 6:54 PM

Hi Bruce. It does not surprise me one bit that you are there to help. You come to everyone's rescue. You look great and Martin is so tall. Good people doing good things. You are "good people." Marcia

Marie Perkins from OAK PARK  

Posted: July 25th, 2012 6:27 PM

Thank you Mr. Farland for saving the bees. With the population of bee's disappearing at such an alarming rate due to colony collapse and environmental reasons, every bee counts and should be saved.

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