- Many of the beehives on La Palma in the Canary Islands were seen getting buried under volcanic ash.
- 5-6 hives had still survived, with hundreds of thousands of bees and were happy to see skies again.
Like an imposed hibernation, many of the beehives on La Palma in the Canary Islands were seen getting buried under volcanic ash after the Cumbre Vieja burst in September.
These six hives were located just 600 metres away from the volcano. When they were finally dug out on November 6, rescuers who suffered from a sting here and there found that 5-6 hives had still survived, with hundreds of thousands of bees and were happy to see skies again. They had sealed themselves in a resinous material with which they plugged any gaps and could survive on their food reserves.
Their closeness to the volcano was beneficial. Elías González, the president of (ADS) Beekeepers of La Palma, believes they survived so long because the ash that falls nearest to a volcano allows air to pass. On the other hand, the sixth hive was thought not to have survived because they had been in a weaker state before the explosion.
In studies, the University of Hawaii has discovered that volcanic ash “disturbs with the waxy components of the honey bees’ exoskeleton, which leads to dehydration.
Gasses in the air are known as “vog,” which may be avoided by moving hives upwind of a volcano. However, two problems emerged over food sources. UofH suggests that honey bees don’t appear to prevent ash-contaminated food and take in a diet that will destroy their digestive systems. Also, flowers can die in huge numbers from ash suffocation, depriving bees of food sources. Can cause further deaths post-ashfall.
Each hive can contain between 30,000 and 40,000 bees in spring and around 20,000-25,000 when there are fewer flowers.
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