I had a chance to explore a few acres of land up in northern Georgia. I was told by the land owner there are old beehives somewhere, she just pointed me in the general direction and I got to walking through the summer woods looking for the houses. With the dense tree cover I had to get pretty close to them before finding them. And when I did it was pretty clear no bees were making homes in them at the time.
Its hard to say what knocked over this hive, but it was quite extensive. Six boxes stacked, looks like a super at the bottom and honey boxes above. Im guessing whoever was taking care of these in the past had the plan to get honey from them. When they were standing this box was about as tall as a adult.
Looking at the wood decomposition id say these boxes have not been touched by the bee keeper for over ten years, the dry rot and wood dust makes me think these boxes have been laying on the ground for many years if not decades.
Looks like a squirrel was using the boxes as a perch and eating nuts on them.. haha. Looks like a downed tree was right next to the boxes, maybe a branch knocked them over when the tree fell.
I found three sites where someone was raising bees, each had a foundation built out of logs and bolted together. Whoever was doing this was pretty serious about their bees, seeing so many boxes and care put into their location where they set them.
I do not think the boxes can be saved or the inserts inside, they have been rained on, eaten by termites and just in bad shape. But the foundations look strong and could certainly hold new boxes.
Each site was spaced out about fifteen feet from each other. With lots of shrubs growing all around, this is in the middle of a forest so theres lots of pollen and nectar sources for these bees to feed on. Unlike my Mason Bees, Honey Bees will travel many miles in search of pollen and nectar.
Luci the dog came along with me, and after I checked the box for nasty critters I let her get a sniff of the box. She took a few seconds to check it out before ready to move on.
The last box we checked out was in the best shape, it still had a cover on top and was not knocked over. Standing on its original foundation. Though inside all of the wood dust makes me think these are going to fall apart as soon as I move them. The other boxes were uncovered and or knocked over making the wet soil and elements get into the wood.
Luci takes me back to where we started, knowing exactly where we were. Really impressed the dog has good navigation skills. I just followed her until we were back where we started, after being pointed in the direction of the beehives by the land owner.
With permission from the land owner I am planning on starting new bee colonies on the property. Building in the same location as the old ones. And hopefully I can get a population of Bees going in the area again. I may not be able to use the boxes or trays I found, as they have been exposed to the elements for possibly decades. But building new homes on the same location may give me success just like whoever did it in the past here.
I will be taking a trip to a bee shop to buy the needed hardware and to place an order on a colony. By next spring I should have them set up and ready to go. This will be all new to me, ive never dealt with Honey Bees but have wanted to for a long time. So finding this spot it just makes sense to set up new boxes and see if it ends up being a great location to raise bees. I really want to collect honey and this would be a great place in the forest to harvest lots of local honey and pollen.