Ameren Illinois Crew Helps Rescue Honeybee Hive
July 2020

An Ameren Illinois crew worked with Wright Tree Service and a local beekeeper in Alton, Ill., to preserve a honeybee hive while removing tree limbs that were obstructing power lines.

"We called Wright Tree Service to remove limbs from what Ameren Illinois considered a tree that was hazardous to the electric grid in Alton," said David Schenck, vegetation supervisor for Ameren Illinois. "One of the limbs, about 50 feet up in the air, had a beehive inside of it. We knew that the proper ecological thing to do was to call a beekeeper, who shared with us the proper way to safely remove the limb to preserve the hive."

Once surrounding vegetation safely was removed and tree trimmers had a clear path to the honeybee-infested limb, a cotton t-shirt was placed on the entrance of the hive so the bees would not swarm the tree trimmer. The tree trimmer then used a chainsaw to cut away the limb and a pulley-system to lower the log safely to the ground.

"We took extra safety precautions to make sure we didn't disturb the bees because they are very active this time of the year," said Chris Lorenz, safety supervisor for Wright Tree Service. 

The removal process took about 90 minutes. Local beekeeper Johnny Murdock arrived later to gather the hive with a piece of equipment he personally made to remove honeybees. He relocated the hive into a honeybee box at his home.

"I have a special vacuum I created that is gentle and doesn't hurt them," said Murdock, who is a member of the St. Clair Beekeepers Association. "Once I had 90 percent of the bees out of the log, we split the limb in half so I could get to the honeycomb and remove the rest of the bees.”

Murdock said he will preserve the honeycomb because it has larvae and the queen is laying eggs. “I will hang the honeycomb secured with rubber bands in the bee box and the honeybees will reattach the honeycombs to the frame. I will do everything I can to make sure it becomes a strong and healthy colony," he added.

Ameren Illinois President and Chairman Richard Mark praised the efforts of everyone involved. "This was a great partnership between Ameren Illinois, Wright Tree Service, and beekeeper Johnny Murdock to understand the importance of honeybees and the environment while safeguarding electric service reliability for our customers in Alton,” said Mark. “We are thrilled the honeybees were rescued and will continue to thrive."

EEI member companies work hard to be good stewards of the environment. For more examples of member companies’ environmental stewardship, read about BGE’s recent awards for its green efforts, and EEI member companies’ work to protect monarch butterflies.

Read the original press release here​.​