During the Autumn I received a call from Newport Pagnall Contruction about a colony of bees which they had found on a job. They had been working on a site in Blunham in Bedfordshire of a converted rectory, it was a beautiful building.
They needed the bees removed before they could start work on the roof restoration and I was more than happy to help. The bees had made their way under the roof tiles, but the only way to be sure of their exact location and to minimise damage to the building was to use a thermal imaging camera. This would also speed up the process as we were able to immediately locate their whereabouts.
Here is an image taken on the day from the interior of the building, the cross mark indicates where the majority of the heat source is coming from. You can see the difference in colour, red/orange being hottest and green/blue being coolest. I then new immediately where to start looking for the bee colony.
I tried to keep the opening of the roof to a minimum but due to the size of the colony we had to go a little wider. I was reassured by the site foreman that this was not a problem as they had a team of builders on hand to patch up once I had finished the bee extraction. In this picture you can see me starting to remove the honeycomb.
Due to the nature of the roof and being such an old building this job was a challenge. The bees were able to spread their colony throughout several cavities and between several joists. Normally roof insulation would mean that the bee colony is more or less contained in this scenario. Another reason why its much better to deal with swarms of bees when they’re easily accessible to collect than waiting until they have found a nice, warm, cosy home!
Big thanks to Newport Pagnall Contruction for choosing to save these bees, rather than terminate them. I think we may have a new beekeeper on our hands as the Site Foreman was so intrigued by the whole process – I even brought him a bee-suit along so he could join in!