Almost a million lives were saved from flood waters yesterday - tiny, buzzy lives.
Camden Community Garden president Steve Cooper and volunteers Justin O'Brien and Simon Suters worked through the night to save 19 bee hives from the rising flood waters.
Mr O'Brien, in Sydney's south, said he got the call from Mr Cooper about 6.30pm.
"He told me that our four lowest beehives had started to become inundated with water," the Ellis Lane resident said.
"We had to wade through waist-deep water to get to the hives.
"Some of them weighted probably 90 to 100 kilos with the the frames, honey and bees inside, and when you throw in the water it's quite heavy."
Mr O'Brien said it took about two hours to move four hives to higher ground at the Exeter Street garden.
Happy with their efforts, Mr O'Brien and Mr Cooper took a rest.
But by 9pm, they had to head to the garden again - the next row of hives were completely inundated.
"This time we were shoulder-deep in water," Mr O'Brien said.
"There was one that we couldn't move. But then we were able to get it out, because the water had lifted the hive up and the air trapped inside allowed Steve and Simon to float it out of the enclosure."
Mr O'Brien said they trio managed to save 19 out of 21 hives, and some of them needed to be moved more than once to higher ground as the waters kept rising.
"It was definitely an ordeal," Mr O'Brien said.
"I left there just after 12am and Steve finished at 1am. He went back down at 3am because some of the hives hadn't been moved high enough.
"It was a crazy night and I've copped numerous stings after getting about two dozen bees inside my suit. Steve doesn't wear gloves, so he's a bit sore and sorry today."
Mr O'Brien said the largest hives held up to 60,000 bees.
"There could have been in excess of a million bees altogether," he said. "When they're wet and cold they get extremely angry."
All bee colonies at the garden came from swarm removals conducted by Mr O'Brien and Mr Cooper in the past few years.
Mr O'Brien said despite the rescue being an "horrendous" ordeal, it was something that just needed to be done.
"We couldn't believe how quickly the water had risen," he said.
"The chicken coop as well was completely submerged. We were able to get the chickens out and put them in the greenhouse, but then that got submerged as well and we were only able to save four of the nine chickens.
"We lost a few of the chooks, which was really unfortunately.
"You see things on the news and people saying 'I couldn't believe how quickly it was rising', and this was one of those situations.
"We'd pick up one hive, move it, come back and the water had already risen a foot in that time.
"It was a big night."
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