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Bee Hive Rescued in Short Hills

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Credits: Regina Truitt
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Large, natural, exposed honeybee hive on a tree on Oakview Terrace in Short Hills Credits: Regina Truitt
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Cora Hartshorn Arboreum Environmmental Educators Eric Jackson and Wendy, and Executive Director, Tedor Whitman look up at the Bee Hive 50+ feet in a tree on Oak View Terrace in Short Hills Credits: Regina Truitt
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Beekeeper Joe Lelinho of Hilltop Honey and Millburn Shade Tree worker, Rick Reilly, give a thumbs-up Credits: Regina Truitt
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Millburn Shade Tree workers assist Beekeeper Joe Lelinho in a hive rescue on Oakview Terrace Credits: Regina Truitt
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Joe Lelinho removes one of the "combs" covered with honey bees Credits: Regina Truitt
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Tedor Whitman, Executive Director of the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum, holds a piece of honeycomb. Credits: Regina Truitt
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Beekeeper Joe Lelinho hands a box of bees, removed from the exposed hive, to Millburn Shade Tree worker Rick Reilly. Credits: Regina Truitt
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Pieces of honeycomb and bees rest on a box rescued bees. The box and its natural pheromone attractants remained at the site to attract the remainder of the bees from the immediate area. Credits: Regina Truitt
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Cora Hartshorn Arboretum Environmental Educator, Eric Jackson, holds a piece of honeycomb from the large hive on Oakview Terrace. Credits: Regina Truitt
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Beekeeper Joe Lelinho back on the ground, accompanied by some bees. Credits: Regina Truitt
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Beekeeper Joe Lelinho's bee-covered boot after the Hive Rescue Credits: Regina Truitt
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Beekeeper Joe Lelinho after the Hive Rescue, wearing his beekeeper suit and some honey bees. Credits: Regina Truitt

SHORT HILLS, NJ - A beehive 50 feet above Oakview Terrace was saved last Wednesday through a coordinated effort of the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum staff, Millburn Township Shade Tree workers, and beekeeper Joe Lelinho of Hilltop Honey. Thousands of regional honey bees built the exposed hive, but with temperatures plummeting the bees could have died.

Community member Amy Sherman Gotsch first reported the hive and Arboretum trustee member, Mukta Bhatia notified Cora Hartshorn Arboretum Executive Director Tedor Whitman. Whitman assembled the bee rescue team that included Lelinho, beekeeper and owner of Hilltop Honey, John Walker, Sam Mercandante, Rick Reilly, and Ryan Keenan from Millburn Shade Tree. The bees are spending a cozy winter at Hilltop Honey.

Exposed hives are natural, but unusual. Honeybees much prefer to build their hive in a protected spot, most commonly in a tree hollow. Apparently, this swarm couldn't find a hollow, so they had to settle on this spot in the Glenwood neighborhood. Honeybee workers have one job in the winter: to keep the queen warm. 

By moving their bodies, worker bees generate heat and try to maintain hive temperatures between 89-95 degrees Fahrenheit. In a typical, enclosed, sheltered hive, it is easy to maintain the correct temperature as long as there is enough stored food and honey for the workers to last the winter. Without the insulating properties of an enclosed hive, an exposed hive will most likely lose too much heat due to exposure and the queen will die. Once she passes, the rest of the hive will most likely collapse.

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