OKLAHOMA CITY – As flooding causes problems across the state, two men did their best to rescue some of the smallest flood victims.
Mark Rodden started raising bees last year, but a field that used to be filled with wildflowers planted for them is now a veritable lake.
“I’ve never seen water in this field,” Rodden said.
On Tuesday, he walked out in the morning to find his field was flooded but the water hadn’t yet reached the raised hives.
“So I was like, ‘We made it, we`re good!” he said. “About an hour later, I came back around and the hives were floating out in now this lake.”
Rodden made a panicked call to his mentor, beekeeper and owner of Royal Bee Supply Brian Royal.
“I said I`m gonna come over and look,” Royal said. “If we can, we’re gonna get ’em.”
The two threw on beekeeper suits and got to work with the only tools they had on hand. Rodden got into some waders and started scooping up beehives from the shallow end (about ten feet deep, he estimates), and Royal was paddling around the deeper end in a kayak collecting hives as they drifted away.
“It was a first, let’s put it that way,” Royal said, “kayaking with bees.”
Royal said because the lids came off the hives, a lot of bees were able to escape to the trees. The men spent about two hours salvaging what they could.
“He throws the hive on me, about dumps me in the water because it was heavy with honey,” Royal said.
In the end, they were only able to save six of eight hives. Rodden estimates he lost about half a million bees.
“There were thousands of bees that were drowned,” he said. “It just broke your heart.”
But they both said they could see the bright side, that not all was lost.
“I feel bad for the bees but it wasn’t my house or my family,” Rodden said, “and we’ll rebuild the hives.”