DELAND, Fla. - A Volusia County deputy who doubles as a beekeeper rescued thousands of bees after the tree their hive was attached to was knocked over by a storm.
Deputy David Wiggins has been a deputy for 23 years. He runs his beekeeping family business on the side out of his home in DeLand.
"My mom and dad got me into it and her mother and her father got her into it," he said.
Knowing his background, the department sends him to scenes where a beekeeper is needed.
That was the case last week when a massive tree fell on a home in DeLand, sending thousands of bees swarming.
"Forty, fifty thousand," estimated Wiggins. He explained that while the hive was disturbed due to the trauma from the tree falling, it just took patience to get them to safety.
"Started moving a couple of bees into the hive and once the bees started realizing the hive was a safer spot than where they were at, they just started walking in there," he said.
He was able to collect about 30,000 of them, which he’s now caring for on his farm.
"Because of the fact that they lost a lot of their winter stores that they would be taking into winter when that tree fell down, they’re kind of in what I consider my ICU, where I keep pollen for them and keep sugar water on them so they can make it to the winter," Wiggs added.
He said he was able to capture the queen, meaning the hive will be okay and now live on his farm.
As far as what's next, Wiggins said he will "use them for beekeeping. I use them for honey and stuff like that."
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