An underground honey bee movement in Canberra..... who new!

I was recently alerted to an underground honey bee movement that has apparently been going on for a number of years in the suburb of Watson, Canberra.

The underground movement appeared to have moved into a tree hollow that had previously been created by termites who post enjoying their meal had vacated the site allowing the honey bees to then move in.

The honey bees needed to be move all of the mud that the termites had created but interestingly enough them continued on down the tree hollow to more than 30 centimetres underground thereby being the first bees that I have seen living truly underground.

Tree hollow (knee height)

Looking down inside the mouth of the tree hollow


At the base of the tree hollow (note: the bees and the honeycomb)


The bees headed north post being smoked and after the chainsaw made a few surgical cuts through old tree roots)


The front view of the colony inside the tree hollow, noting all honey reserves above ground were stored capped honey much as you would find in an super


Another view with a preview to the underground chamber


Yet another view showing the size of the underground chamber


Lyall, ‘aka B2’, boldly reaching into the underground body of the hive to remove comb with brood

B2, again, this time with the hive super (tree trunk) post its chainsaw removal

Underground bee movement moved above ground in their temp lodgings

The great news was when Lyall then spotted the queen with he eagle eyes.

Almost Jedi like, there was some suggestion he mentally willed the queen from the underground colony after explaining to her, through interpretive dance, that he had a new hive for her and her daughters to move into that was above ground, clean and dry and better suited for her colony.

I’ll keep you posted on how this all works out.




This bee colony has created its spectecular underground habitat. Do we, humans need to move this colony into an habitat, unknown to this bee colony? A US-article from the beginning of the last century observed some digger bees, see Notes on some digger bees in Journal of the New York Entomological Society, Vol. 9, No. 1 (Mar., 1901)