It was a great big tuliptree and it had been struck by lightning the previous Sunday. I agreed with the owner that removing the tree was the best option, even though you can’t always tell right away whether or not a lightning-struck tree will survive. It was a double-trunked tree and both trunks were significantly splintered from the strike. There were other defects too – it had been improperly pruned (topped) at least twice over the last 40 years and, though not obvious to a non-professional, there were large decayed and hollow limbs and weak re-growth as a result. And it was right next to the house!
It would be a pretty expensive job, but the client told me I was the low bidder! I thought perhaps the other 2 tree companies thought the job might be a little too tricky for them and they didn’t really want it. The client suggested perhaps they (the others) felt they could take advantage of the situation because insurance would be paying for it. (The claim was denied, at any rate).
So we decided to treat it as an emergency- the owner was really concerned about the danger. We did the job on Monday. We were well prepared, with a big crew, and the job looked like it should actually end up being fairly routine until I spotted the bees!
Honey bees. In the hollow created by one of the old topping wounds was a colony of honey bees. Now what? We opted not to kill them, as it appeared they were not easily agitated. Honey bee colonies vary in their levels of aggressiveness depending on the queen. It seemed like this was a very docile queen.
The climber was not afraid of them, and he simply went about his business piecing down the tree with the bees paying him hardly any attention. The last cut, however, did get them riled up as it dumped their home forty feet to the ground. We waited until the next morning to fell the remaining trunk.
Here is a slide show of the day’s work. Note the photos of the climber working with bees buzzing all around him!