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MJBee 

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Following on from Veg's adventures I thought beeks might be interested in this:-
A builder friend had been asked to replace the render on part of this house but found bees coming and going. Suited and booted I removed the loose render and found a crack that extended almost 90cm into the house:ack2:(pic 1) Moving into the house I cut a small hole in the lathe and plaster ceiling and confirmed the colony was between 2 joists 50cm apart and 20cm deep so I began slowly and gently removing the ceiling (pics 2&3) until the whole colony was exposed (pic 4). Up to this point there was no aggression and the bees were calm on the comb with just a few fliers:):)
As many bees as possible were brushed/scooped into a a box, covered and removed then the cut out started. (pic 6). Most of the brood was found in the new comb this was carefully fastened into Commercial frames with as many bees as possible, by pure luck 1/2 way through the Queen was found and safely transferred into the brood box. Most of the stores were in the very old black comb nearest the entrance after the bees were shaken off this was bagged (4 Bin bags full!!)
The entrance was sealed with expanding foam and the windows left open. After an excellent curry provided by the lady of the house, the bathroom was almost bee free so the windows were closed and the nest site thoroughly sprayed.
Once home the brood box was sited and the bees in the sealed box were poured into a super above the crown board, the whole lot were left to settle down. 10 days later eggs and larvae were found - RESULT.
 

MJBee 

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Rest of the pictures
 

MJBee 

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As a postscript I was called back the following day - bees were using another entrance further up the wall. Investigation found another colony in the same position but 1 floor up!! rather than wreck another ceiling we got at these via the attic floor. (This was why I advised Veg to lift the floor boards carefully) the combs were all attached to the under side of the floor boards. Sadly we did not get the queen this time but there were eggs and very young larvae and they were queen right and laying within a month.
The house is now bee free and the lady of the house misses the bees so much I have been asked to put a colony or two nearby:)
As you have probably gathered I am retired so loss of earnings does not apply but even so 2 colonies of large black French bees 40+kg honey AND an apiary site seems well worth the effort.
:cheers2: Mike

PS My bee suit is not normally that colour, honey and ceiling debris left me a dirty sticky mess by close of play
 
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cstroud 

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Hi Mike,
Blimey that comb looks huge!!! how big was it?

Chris
 

oliver90owner 

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What a result! Bet you were more than chuffed.

What part of the season was this? Seemingly middle to late summer? If earlier you probably got a lot more than 44kg of honey (later in the season)?

Regards, RAB
 

MJBee 

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The big colony in the ceiling was 50cm x 20cm x 250cm BIG

RAB it was mid August, main flow in this area is from false Acacia and Chestnut and that was over.

This house has a facinating history- the bit that has the scaffolding against it is constructed of oak frame with stone infill and was a watch tower used by Richard the Lion Heart. The tower was enlarged by building a house either side hence the abundance of granite corner stones.The present occupants use it as a holiday retreat for 6 months of the year, but prior to that it was empty for almost a decade. There were no less than 9 colonies scattered around the house - in kitchen units, in the porch, attic and these two were the final ones.

Also found a massive (thankfully empty) hornets nest in the attic that they had no idea was there:)
 

VEG 

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Well done bet you were glad that hornets nest was empty!
 

tonybloke 

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thanks for the photo's and the story, very interesting stuff.
 

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