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Update: the open-air colony in Maupin

Many of you have wondered how the colony hanging in a tree in Maupin, Oregon is doing. Well, here is some good news: I just received word that on sunny days when the temperature rises into the 60s, the bees are very busy. They have lined their entrance with propolis and are bringing in fresh supplies of white and light yellow pollen. The colony seems to be healthy and vibrant.

If you missed the fascinating story of how a group of beekeepers prepared this open-air colony for an Oregon high desert winter, be sure to check out the story and see some great pictures of an ingenious project.


The second layer was made from quilted drapery lining. This layer was left open at the bottom.  © Naomi Price.
The second layer was made from quilted drapery lining. This layer was left open at the bottom. © Naomi Price.



Thank you for the update. This is GREAT news!!!

Bill Castro

Rusty, we removed a colony that was separated from the elements by 16 gauge steel and thrived for over 2 decades in the same location. The only thing that matters is that draughts don’t chill the colony. As long as a colony is healthy, strong in population, and has natural honey stores honey bees can live in cold climates for decades without insulation…


Thanks, Bill. The thing that worries me about open-air hives is raccoons, especially in winter.


Such good news that the colony is still plugging along. I hope it makes it through the winter. Are there any plans to relocate it if it does?

Joe W.

That’s great to hear. Now if they can just make it through these last few tough weeks of winter. They really seem to be beating the odds – new home/rough home. Makes me scratch my head as to why, too often, our new colonies in “ideal” hives and seemingly ideal conditions fail to make it.

Sean Govan

Last year, I removed a colony that was underground in a water meter hole, hanging from the metal lid. There was a lot of comb lying on the floor of the hole. I think that every time the lid got direct sun, all the larger, heavier combs melted where they were attached to the metal. Poor bees.

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