I found an exposed honey bee hive out in my timber today, it is about 30 feet in the air? – by Craig (Lucas, Iowa – USA)

Wild bee hive in a tree Wild bee hive in a tree Wild bee hive in a tree

Wild bee hive in a tree

Hi Craig

Thanks for the great picture. It amazes me that bees sometimes choose places such as these to build their combs. It looks as though they might have been more protected before the leaves fell off the tree.

I’ll be interested to know if they survive the winter, although I think it’s unlikely, I believe it gets pretty cold in Iowa. Perhaps you could keep an eye on it and keep me updated.

The Bee Guy

12 Responses to “Exposed Honey Bee Hive”

  • Pjcpagan1@gmail.com'

    Paul Pagan

    I live in Clover South Carolina and there is a beehive open exposed about 40 feet on top of my hive.

  • arachnib@columbus.rr.com'


    The leaves have just fallen off my birch tree, exposing an open bee hive, just like in the originating picture. We’ve had a boxed bee hive for 4 years now. Every spring we have had to repopulate it. This is the first year we’ve experienced an exposed hive. It is about 12 feet NW of our box hive, and is attached on a limb about 15 feet in the air. Haven’t determined if our boxed hive is still viable. There are no bees in the open air hive. We are in northern Columbus, Ohio. Weather is starting to turn cold.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'


    Hi Craig:

    The picture is so unusual! Thank you.

    I’ve been having an interesting time with bees at my place and I live where it gets fairly cold. I’ve noticed a number of dead bees in the mornings and think they stayed outside where I feed them and got too cold. Now I bring the honey in early. I’m learning and will be very interested to watch how your bees are doing as the temperature continues to drop.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'


    Well i checked them this weekend and they were all gone-dead. I shot the tree with a slug and the combs all came down,pretty much intact. just a few dried up bees stuck to it and no honey at all.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'


    Hi Craig: Sorry to hear about the loss of your “out-of-the-box bees. What do you think caused them to build their honeycomb outside? I have lots of questions and am enjoying learning. Our weather has been freezing the past few nights so my little visitors are staying in their hive. Wish I knew it’s location! Thanks for sharing.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'


    I’ve seen photos of something similar in Philadelphia, PA. Honey bees built their hive outside someone’s office window, completely exposed to the elements. It’s mid July now and I was told the bees have been there for about a month now. I’m going to Philly this week to get the bees. I’m going to cut off the combs and rubber band them to frames.

    Meanwhile I’ve been doing some research on line to see what may cause this behavior. I’m wondering if it’s a species thing, a defect in their instinct or what. I’ve had no luck so far, but I did find a species of honey bee, giant honey bee (Apis Dorsata) that builds a single large comb structure completely exposed, ingenuous to southern Asia.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'


    Probably nothing new to you, but I observed a completely exposed hive just this weekend (10/30/11) in southeast MO. The early morning temps were about 45-48 degrees, and I was able to approach to within a couple feet of the hive. I have images of the hive if interested.


  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Jim Dorchak

    Is this because of AHB genetic influence?

    I have seen this in my Apiary here in SC in 2003. They swarmed and built an exposed hive 50 feet up above the other hives. I have often wondered if they did this due to genetic influx of the AHB (african honey Bee) strain into our pool of bees?

    Jim Dorchak

    [Interesting thought Jim]

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'


    I came to the net to do some research because of what I observed over the past weekend. (I took some pictures and will post later if they turned out.)

    I’ve spent countless hours in the outdoors and have never seen exposed honey bee combs in Illinois. My first thought was Africanized Honey Bee activity based on what I’ve read and seen on the net from years ago.

    The location is near a busy rail-line and I presume they hitched a ride and took up residency here in during the warmer months. The hive was vacated when I found it 3/10/13. Anybody interested in doing any further research into this? I’ll check back later, hopefully with a picture or two.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Lisa Lou

    I found a exposed bee hive about 30 feet up on my oak tree. Never seen anything like it. Will keep an eye on it. No telling how big it will get since I am in Houston, Texas and it can get cold but not really.

    • jlopez3211@live.com'

      Jaci Lopez

      I just spotted an exposed bee hive in a tree a good (maybe?) 30+ feet high up in a tree. Should I be concerned about it being an African Bee??

      • Geoff

        Hi Jaci

        I don’t think it matters. They must have been there for a while and, presumably, caused no problem. Since they’re so high I don’t know what you could do about it anyway. The whole Adfricanized bee ‘problem’ is very exaggerated anyway.


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