Honeybees Survive Weeks Buried Beneath Volcanic Ash in La Palma

Image for article titled Thousands of Honeybees Stared Down Spain’s Cumbre Vieja Volcano. They Won

Photograph: Joe Raedle (Getty Photos)

Tens of 1000’s of honeybees in Spain’s Canary Islands can now add “survived a volcano” to their bucket listing. Nicely, since they’re bees, we’ll add it for them.

A gripping and pleasant report within the New York Times on Saturday advised the story of 5 hives of honeybees who have been left unattended after the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma, which blew on Sept. 19, for about 50 days (their beekeeper had been compelled to depart the realm). In current weeks, when the beekeeper returned, he discovered the hives lined in volcanic ash.

Contained in the hives, nonetheless, the scene was completely totally different. The beekeeper discovered tens of 1000’s of reside honeybees, a part of the native Canary black bee species, who had managed to hold on regardless of the warmth and toxic gases launched by the volcano, the Instances reported. They could have additionally gotten fortunate as a result of they have been lined with light and porous ash, which allowed air to go via the hives.

Not all honeybees on La Palma have been so fortunate, although. Spanish information company EFE reported {that a} group of hives closest to the Cumbre Vieja’s foremost cone had been lined fully by lava, which killed them.

Antonio Quesada, a fellow beekeeper and a spokesperson for the Gran Canaria Beekeepers Affiliation, advised the outlet that {that a} key a part of the bees’ survival was propolis. Produced by bees, propolis is a sticky substance produced from resins the bugs accumulate from vegetation and buds. Usually referred to as “bee glue,” propolis is usually used to easy tough surfaces or seal crevices in hives.

The La Palma bees used propolis for the latter. Quesada mentioned they managed to seal themselves inside their hives to guard themselves from the volcanic gases, which will be probably dangerous to folks, animals, vegetation, and property. The bees additionally thought of meals and ate from the honey shops that they had inside their hives.

“It’s unimaginable how such a tiny animal that has been round for tons of of 1000’s of years can preserve that resilience, that skill to outlive,” Quesada advised the outlet.

That’s not all they did, although. Though they sealed themselves of their hives, they made certain to depart a miniscule pathway to the surface so they might get out at some point.

The ethical of this story is that honeybees are the most effective preppers for the tip of the world. Contemplating how issues are going, we may be taught from them. Cumbre Vieja remains to be erupting, in spite of everything, and scientists have no idea when it’ll cease.

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