Berkeley Infrastructure Notes: Apiary Edition

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A sharp-eyed dog-walker of my acquaintance (I’m married to her) spotted something a little unusual near the bottom of a utility pole a couple blocks from our place. Bees were flying in and out of a cavity about three and a half feet above the sidewalk. A honeycomb was visible. They had a full-fledged if rather small hive going, right out in plain sight. My acquaintance took my out to the scene so I could document the scene. (Click the images for larger views of the pictures.)

An unaddressed question: Does this little insect colony pose a danger? The pictures show evidence of boring, probably by powder-post beetles. Is the pole going to snap off? Except for this one area, it appears pretty solid. (The question brings up some interesting issues, such as who’s responsible for fixing or replacing a damaged pole. A friend who works for the city and is generally pretty well informed tells me that the last utility that attached something to the pole generally bears responsibility.


6 Replies to “Berkeley Infrastructure Notes: Apiary Edition”

  1. just established a bee hive in a beautiful hillside location in berkeley and there’s room for more hives. ask them if they want to move, or let us know if they swarm.
    Tom Miller (

  2. The power pole outside of our house, also in Berkeley, has a resident beehive. Every spring for the last 8 years a male downy or hairy woodpecker will attack the pole several times a day and eat the bees that come out in defence of the hive. The woodpeckers only peck enough to enrage the bees without actually damaging the hive or the pole.

  3. Tom, I think any self-respecting bee would like a beautiful hillside location. On the other hand, these seem pretty happy where they are. The one concern I have is if someone decides to replace or repair the pole, they’ll probably want the bees out of there.

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