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image depicting 5 honey bee hives survive volcano eruption

Thousands of honey bees survive volcano eruption

Recommended for Foundational Grades

Survival of the honey bees

In September this year, a volcano erupted on La Palma island. This is in the Canary Islands, which is a part of the country of Spain. The volcano’s eruption led to the shooting of lava (hot, melted rock) hundreds of metres into the air and burned forests.

While many houses were destroyed, one miracle house survived. Now, it turns out that that five hives (homes) of honey bees survived too, along with thousands of honey bees!

What is amazing about this is that the hives were buried under volcanic ash (soil) for more than 50 days. But when rescue workers dug up the soil, the bees and the hives were doing fine.

Amazingly, the honey bees had survived by creating propolis which they used to seal up the holes in their hive. It protected them from volcanic ash. Then, inside, they ate honey to stay alive.

What is propolis?

Propolis is a material that bees make from substances they collect from parts of plants and flower buds. Humans use it as medicine too.

This is very good news as each hive is home to 30 to 40 thousand bees during the spring season. Moreover, bees are very important for humans but today, they are disappearing from the world. So, it is good that these hives survived.


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