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Tens of thousands of honey bees have managed to survive the La Palma volcanic eruption.
The Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted on 19 September on the Spanish island of La Palma and it’s still spewing lava today.
Thousands of homes have been destroyed by the lava and 7,000 people had to be evacuated from the island.
Despite this, five hives full of honey bees have managed to survive by using a resin-like mixture – known as bee glue – to seal themselves away from the molten lava and poisonous gases.
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When their keeper returned to the village to check on the hives 50 days after the eruption, the bees were found buzzing away in their hives under a thick layer of volcanic ash.
Not only had the bees managed to survive the heat and poisonous gases of the volcano, but they also had avoided starvation by feeding off stores of honey inside the hive.
The bees, known in the region as the Canary black bee, used propolis, a resin-like mixture sometimes known as bee glue, to seal themselves inside.
They even built a little tunnel in their hive to make sure they could escape if they needed to.
Antonio Quesada, spokesperson for the Gran Canaria Beekeepers Association, told the New York Times: “It’s incredible how such a tiny animal that has been around for hundreds of thousands of years can maintain that resilience, that ability to survive.”
The story is better news for the locals of La Palma which is home to more than 100 bee keepers on the island of 80,000 people.
It’s hoped that more bee keepers will find their hives still intact so they can continue to make money from the honey – an important business for the local economy.
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