Bee Trees

Nature uses imperfections. Flaws, scars, genetic malformations  and the like, are all fodder for nature to create a diverse realm in which we are just a small part.

Trees that are deformed in some way can become home to large hives of honey bees.

We have several bee trees here on the farm.

Honey bees don’t wait for humans to supply them with box hives. The bees construct their own homes when needed and use fir trees that have a scar on them to begin their remodel project. Loggers refer to tree that has been scarred as a ‘cat face’ from some of the unique shapes made as the the trees are damaged and regrow.

It could have been a spot that had been hit by another tree, the bark skinned from the area and a gouge past the cambium into the wood of the tree. I found a hand-drawn rendering section of a tree at that shows the layers of a fir tree.

Handdrawn rendition of the layers of a fir tree from the bark to the heartwood.

Over time, the tree rejuvenates and repairs the scar leaving rough, jagged edges that don’t heal together smoothly. The scar gives the bees access to a cavity in the tree and the insects take full advantage and begin nesting. Large hives form and the sounds of humming can be heard from several yards away. Walking past the tree, the sweet smell of honey is enough to make your mouth water. The bees use this stored honey as energy to survive through the winter. The hives can stay active for many years, even decades.

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