5 Bee Colonies have miraculously survived after being buried under volcanic ash for 50 days at the edge of a volcano in La Palma.
Since Cumbre Vieja Volcano first began erupting on September 19, the hives, located only 600 metres away from the volcano, were buried under a layer of thick volcanic ash and despite the hostile conditions, the bees managed to stay alive for 50 days.
The bee rescue took place on Saturday where officers from El Paso’s Local Police, the Military Emergency Unit and the Guardia Civil went under the ash to save the hives.
One of the local police officers who took part in the rescue is also a beekeeper.
Elías González, president of the Agrupación de Defensa Sanitaria (ADS) Apicultores de La Palma, told EFE that five of the six hives discovered remained intact, but unfortunately, the sixth hive did not survive. However, Mr González said that the bees may have died ‘not because of the volcano, but because they were already weak.’ The owner of the hives had not harvested the honey and as a result the bees were able to survive by living off their food reserves and also because of the type of ash that fell on top of the hives may have insulated them from the harsh environment and was light enough as to not crush the hives .Three of the hives were completely buried under the ash while the other three were partially visible.
Some of the officers were stung during the rescue mission as they had to dig to locate the hives.
Hives can hold between 30,000 to 60,000 bees in the spring, and with fewer flowers in the area in the colder seasons, they can have around 5000 to 25,000 bees.