As it turned out, my friend Connie and her husband Ted, both bee keepers did indeed think our bee hive discovery was worth investigating.
They are helping with North Carolina University's 'Save the Hives' program, to learn more click on: "Feral Bee Project" Bees colonies throughout the United States have been greatly reduced over the last two decades, here in NC, managed colonies of bees are down 40%.
Click here to read a short intro about this situation.
Connie and Ted are putting on their protective gear....while 'the husband' and I stand far back from the tree trunk.
Ted is already on the ground and inspecting the site of activity.
Here they are scooping bees into vials for DNA testing. The goal was to capture about 50 bees.
They thought these bees appeared to be of Italian descent. (I hope I understood that correctly....believe me I wouldn't know one from another, even if they were were their country's flag!)
Look Mary....there's nothing to be scared about!!
After shaking the bees down to the bottom of the glass vials, Connie is pouring a preservative solution to keep the bees fresh for the impending DNA tests.