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Thursday, November 11, 2021

Thousands of bees survive 50 days buried under ash from the La Palma volcano

Bees archive image by PollyDot from Pixabay

Thousands of bees have been rescued alive after spending 50 days in hives buried under a blanket of ash from the La Palma volcano, only about 600 meters away from the same area of ​​Cabeza de Vaca, where on September 19, a gaping hole opened in the earth.

Elías González, president of the Agrupación de Defensa Sanitaria (ADS) Apicultores de La Palma (La Palma Beekeepers), tells news agency EFE that five of the six hives that a beekeeper had in that area were intact and only the bees of the sixth died, perhaps "not because of the volcano, but because they were already weak" before the eruption.

In the rescue, which took place last Saturday, the Local Police of El Paso intervened, one of whose agents is a beekeeper, with the support of the Military Emergency Unit (UME) and the Civil Guard. Three hives were partially visible and the other three buried under the ash. The agents had to dig to locate and rescue them, not without getting stung occasionally! 

Each hive can house between 30,000 and 40,000 bees in spring, and between 20,000 and 25,000 when there are fewer flowers, on whose pollen they feed.

Elías González believes that if they survived so long, first it is because what falls in that area so close to the volcano is lapilli, rather than fine ash, which due to its thickness allows air to pass through, and secondly because the owner of the hives had not removed the summer honey harvest, so they "had food reserves."

"Even so, they are resentful, but alive", points out the president of the Agrupación de Defensa Sanitaria (ADS) Apicultores de La Palma.

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