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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Tragic Bee Loss at Blue Heron

Atlanta has had torrential rains in the last few days. The Atlanta paper said that two storm systems came together to create this perfect storm that has dropped 12 inches of rain onto some parts of Atlanta in the last 24 hours. The Blue Heron Nature Preserve is located beside Nancy Creek.

The USGS monitor reading as per their webpage at the Blue Heron gauge for Nancy Creek is currently two feet above "Major Flood Stage" of 13 feet. This morning creeks and rivers all over the city jumped their banks. Roads were closed, including the downtown connector because the water made them impassable.

My friend Julia took the two pictures below at Blue Heron around 5:30 today. The sign in the center of the first picture marks the entry to the community gardens and describes who has what plot in the flooded garden to the left of the picture.

Julia took this picture below of the area where our hives were located. To the left of the green tree, you can see something white. We thought at first that this was a hive (because it's where a hive was located) but now we think it's the sign about the bee area that has floated there.

This picture below shows how the area looked from my car at 6:45. You can see that the flood covers the drive into the Preserve. Our hives were located behind the tree with the reddish top. All seven of the hives were swept away by the flood. Julia and I had two of the hives and the rest belonged to nice guys who were just getting started with bees.

I imagine the waters rushed into the front entrance of the hives and drowned the bees before they could abscond, but Julia and I plan to watch the trees in the area for signs of absconded bees hanging in a cluster. We hope that some got out but are not expecting that they did because neither of our hives had a top entrance. If seven hives each had at this time of year around 40,000 bees each, that's 280,000 bees that died last night or this morning.

I put little boxes into this photo where the seven hives were at the Blue Heron Preserve. It was a great place for the bees and we had a good time sharing our hives with beekeepers who came on inspections with us.

More thunderstorms and rain are expected to start between 11 PM and midnight tonight and last through the night. What will tomorrow bring?
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  1. Linda, I was so sad to read of this loss. I know the area because long ago I had friends who lived close to Nancy Creek. I remember how it would flood. What a horrible loss of bees. I hope you can rebuild. My thoughts are with you.

    My area of Western NC has also been hit very hard. Roads are closed, bridges are out and dams broken. I've had 18' of rain since Saturday and more is expected through the week. My hives are on a hill and are protected, but I know I will find dead bees. The rain has stopped briefly this morning, but not expected to be gone until the weekend.

  2. I am sorry to hear this news. We have also been given a lot of rain, but not so much at our place, but N. Alabama has gotten a lot of rain. I hope their instincts kicked in and they got out before the flood ran in.

  3. Linda,
    My husband and I are beekeepers from Savannah, Georgia. We never understood the attachment beekeepers have to their little ones, until we became beekeepers. We mourn for your loss, and pray for a speedy reproduction.

    Faith Jaudon

  4. I am so sorry to read about your bees Linda, a similar thing happened to a beekeeper here in NZ last winter - it must be quite soul-destroying, I know this chap was devastated. All the best ..

  5. Sorry for the lose. I know how much it has cost you and a lose that big hurts.

  6. Anonymous8:08 PM

    I'm sorry to hear of your loss. I just found your very helpful blog today while researching beekeeping for a young adult novel. The how-to videos were so well done that I was going to the latest date to bookmark your site and of course found the flooding story. I hope the rains let up so you have some chance of recovering parts of the colony who may be nearby.

  7. Beth Snapp8:57 PM

    Linda, I'm sure this is a very emotional time for you. My thoughts are with you. --Beth


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