Lehigh Valley

Tree cutters work to save 15-year-old beehive in Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Above a 200-year-old Bethlehem bell tower there is a delicate and potentially dangerous dance taking place.

"The big tree is in a bad spot," said tree cutter Len Witt.

Due to the risk it poses to the historic Sister's House, a 150-year-old Locust tree is being removed.

"A colony of bees has been living in it for as long as we've been here," Witt added.

Up to 100,000 honey bees are inside the trunk.

Witt says they've been there for the past 15 years that he's been trimming the tree.

Bee Keeper Don Heiney says most hives last only a few years.

"To see one this old is kind of a real rarity. You only really get to see it in the wild," he said.

The honeybee population has been in serious decline over the past several years due to colony collapse. To save this particular one, workers sealed the hive and removed the part of the trunk its on, which will be taken to Heiney's East Allen Township apiary.

"Because it's so late in the season, we can't move the hive right now and expect them to live. They wouldn't have anything to eat. So what we will do is hope they can live in the trunk in the winter and coax them out in the spring," he said.

This is a case when saving a bee gets an A for effort.

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