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Author Topic: Bees and volcanic ash-fall  (Read 1316 times)

Offline Paraplegic Racehorse

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Bees and volcanic ash-fall
« on: January 30, 2009, 05:54:54 PM »
About 115 miles northwest of me is an active volcano, Mount Redoubt, that has everyone all excited, here. Historically, Mount Redoubt has had quite violent eruptions, showering a radius as big as 300 miles in silica-ash.

USGS Alaska Volcano Observatory

regularly updated (still-image) webcam

Satellite imagery courtesy of Google Maps

Does anyone have experience weathering volcanic eruptions? How might the ash affect the bees, assuming the volcano waits until spring? Any precautions I should take?
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Offline Keith13

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Re: Bees and volcanic ash-fall
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2009, 05:56:50 PM »
You could run like He** :-D
No I am no help most I deal with is hurricanes sorry

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Offline poka-bee

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Re: Bees and volcanic ash-fall
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2009, 07:33:05 PM »
I didn't have bees when St. Helen's blew so I don't know.  If you know for sure the ash is coming your way you might cover em with a sheet or tarp but make sure there is ventilation.  That stuff sifts up & around into everything though.  As long as they are not in the path of lahars or pyro flow they should be ok.  They may have trouble when foraging though as the ash will get into everything. You sound sort of close...115 miles isn't that far away with an eruption... :shock:  Volcano Honey, now there is a niche market!  J
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Offline Paraplegic Racehorse

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Re: Bees and volcanic ash-fall
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2009, 08:20:10 PM »
You sound sort of close...115 miles isn't that far away with an eruption... :shock:  Volcano Honey, now there is a niche market!  J

115 miles is pretty close, but there's a mountain range and one of the world's largest ice-fields between me and the mountain, so I'm not worried about heat or flows, just ash.

I was in the Tri-Cities (WA) in 1980, but I was really young and I don't remember any of it.

I hadn't thought of tarps, that's a good idea. I'll use real canvas tarps instead of those cheap-o plastic things to help with venting.
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Member in good standing: International Discordance of Kilted Apiarists, Local #994

The World Beehive Project - I endeavor to build at least one of every beehive in common use today and document the entire process.

Offline bassman1977

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Re: Bees and volcanic ash-fall
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2009, 09:06:20 PM »
I remember when the volcano at Montserrat erupted.  I lived in Puerto Rico at the time.  PR received a lot of ash and the skys were very gray for a long time.   How that effected the bees, I don't know.  That wasn't even a thought at the time.   I would think it affected the plant life negatively though.  I would bet that the bees would be fine.  I would keep an eye on their food supply if the ash is really bad though.
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Offline bailey

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Re: Bees and volcanic ash-fall
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2009, 09:41:38 PM »
the ash you speak of is a very fine powder, it is very bad for things that breath air!
the bees respritory system would be affected negativly just like other air breathers if the dust enters the respritory tract.
i would guess that the dust would wind up in their respritory tract if allowed to enter the hive.

with you being in alaska your bes wont be out on the fly so covering them should do fine as long as the wind doesnt blow the dust into the hive.

good luck

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Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Bees and volcanic ash-fall
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2009, 10:30:25 PM »
When Mout Saint Helens erupted in 1980 the ash was a big problem in several ways.
1.  It turned day into night in part of Western Washington and all of Eastern Washington, the Idaho panhandle, to the rockies.  From there east is was a dark grey day.  The Fine ash is finer than beach sand and will settle and sift into anything.  It plugged cars carberators and even destroyed some engines when the ash got into the combustion chamber (This to show how envasive it can be).

The foraging bees that were out of the hive were pretty much kaput due to the loss of sunlight and disruption of the magnetic field in a large area around the volcano.  In Eastern Washington some hives were crushed due to the amount of ash that accumulate on them.  Volcanic ash is a lot hevier than snow so any covering would need to be made with a alpine pitch to the roof, tarps will quickly collapse around the hive and likely to aid in the suffication of the hive.  The ash fell deep enough in Eastern Washington, Idaho, and Montana to cover the entrances to the hives to the point they sufficated just from the build up, a tarp would make a vacuum seal around the hive with the ash pinning the tarp to the ground.

The ability to build a shed to protect the bees, provide adequate sunlight the rest of the time, and protect the entrance in case of ash fall is very probematic.
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Offline tlynn

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Re: Bees and volcanic ash-fall
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2009, 11:11:19 PM »
There are a few folks from Hawaii that post here.  Maybe one of them has some insight.  From what I've seen of eruptions on the Big Island, they don't have ash; they have this acidic fog they call vog.  Kind of stings eyes and burns throat when you're in Volcanoes Park.  I doubt bees care much for that.

Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Bees and volcanic ash-fall
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2009, 11:44:02 PM »
There are a few folks from Hawaii that post here.  Maybe one of them has some insight.  From what I've seen of eruptions on the Big Island, they don't have ash; they have this acidic fog they call vog.  Kind of stings eyes and burns throat when you're in Volcanoes Park.  I doubt bees care much for that.

Vog has sulpheric acid in it, it will kill the any bees that breathe it.  The volcanos of Hawaii are lava producers, those on the West Coast are "Dome Builders" meaning the lava is much denser and flows more like honey than water, it oozes.  I doing so it can clog the pipe and blow up (Mout Saint Helens) causing Ash Clouds, Pyroplatic flows and Lahars.  2 different types of volcanos with different behaviors.
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Offline Paraplegic Racehorse

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Re: Bees and volcanic ash-fall
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2009, 04:44:23 PM »
The volcanos of Hawaii are lava producers, those on the West Coast are "Dome Builders" meaning the lava is much denser and flows more like honey than water, it oozes.  I doing so it can clog the pipe and blow up (Mout Saint Helens) causing Ash Clouds, Pyroplatic flows and Lahars.  2 different types of volcanos with different behaviors.

Well, something like that. According to USGS, Redoubt has a high silica content which is really fine and prevents gases from venting easily. These types of volcanoes are, apparently, continuously venting gasses except when in a dormant state (examples of dormant volcanoes include Mount Hood in Oregon, Raineer in Washington. St. Helens is, technically, still active.)

Kilauea, in HI, is composed of stone/magma with low silica content, allowing gas to bubble and escape more or less freely. It would be very rare for any Hawaiian volcano "blow up" as St. Helens, Mont Serat, or Redoubt. for this reason.

I live within 200 miles of (recently-active) Redoubt, Spurr, Illiamna, Augustine, Fourpeaked, and (inactive) Double Glacier, Hayes, Douglas. There are another 20-30 volcanoes if you extend that radius to 500 miles.
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Offline MustbeeNuts

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Re: Bees and volcanic ash-fall
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2009, 07:14:03 PM »
I think a vacation in fla, would be a good idea for a year or so. LOL
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