Half A Million Bees Die As Lightning Hits Backyard Apiculture Shed

Around 500,000 bees were killed when lightning hit their hives in southern Germany.

Owner Mark Huber said there had been nothing firefighters could do after the night-time strike set the wooden shed where the hives had been placed on fire.

The 49-year-old engineer and back-garden apiculture enthusiast from Gars am Inn, a small town in Bavaria, told the Bild newspaper: “Each of my 12 colonies consisted of 40,000 to 60,000 bees.”

Mark, who got into beekeeping 20 years ago, said his honey-extracting machine and other equipment such as a protective suit had also been destroyed by the blaze.

Mark’s colonies consisted of Carniolan honeybees (Apis mellifera carnica), a subspecies of the domesticated western honeybee (Apis mellifera). Being described as flexible, gentle and physically robust, the Carniolan honeybee is very popular among apiarists.

The father-of-three concluded: “Shortly before this thunderstorm, I got myself a 12th colony because I wanted to intensify my beekeeping engagement this year. I wish I would not have done so.”

Apiculture is immensely popular in Germany. The Federal Association of Beekeepers has more than 135,000 members. Around 33,000 of them are based in Bavaria.


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