Bee Colony Found in Yolo County Floodwaters

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YOLO COUNTY -- It's not the kind of thing you ever want to see as you're about to drive nearby --asphalt covering part of a road that, well, really isn't there anymore.

Intense showers have left the ground under Yolo Highway 128 near the Emerald Hill Horse Ranch so saturated that it just couldn't hold up as more rain came down.

An emergency contract has been authorized, but with these January storms are giving Caltrans so much work, representatives aren't sure when a fix can be finished.

In the meantime, signs warn of what's ahead -- giving drivers one more thing to worry about in the dark.

"My biggest concern driving through these roads at night is downed trees and rockslides, so just kind of slowed it down and paid attention," said Bryan from Lake County.

A few hours earlier and a few miles up the road, thousands were powerless to take any evasive action when the surging waters of Dry Creek slough swallowed up their sure footing.

"This is sad. This was a large colony of bees, so you never really like to see that happen," said Annette Baker Evans of Winters.

But the worst did happen Monday when farmland that never floods, did, submerging areas that had been leased to a beekeeper.

"All of these were right there where the water's going under," said Arthur Baker, pointing at floating parts of what was once an organized colony.

Unable to reach the beekeeper himself, volunteers stepped up to try to rescue the living.

"One box with the queen and everything is like $200 or $300.  So there's probably 50 of them I'd say at least50, maybe 75," said Baker.

Gone with them?

The local honey and beeswax now bathed in floodwater, and that's not all.

"In this area with all the orchards, the almonds are a huge crop. If you don't have bees, no orchard crop," said Baker Evans.

But even among these flailing flood victims the survival instinct is strong.

"See that group that's huddled around, the ball of bees right there? I bet there's a queen in the middle and they're trying to protect her," said Baker Evans.