Tuesday, 23 August 2016

20,000 Honey Bees In Need Of A New Home

The unseasonably high winds have brought catastrophe to a large group of residents housed on a branch of an ash tree on the Nuffield lawn today. Those residents, unbeknown to the garden team, had built a hive attaching it to the tree, had came crashing down to the ground spilling its inhabitants on the lawn and smashing their carefully constructed home in to pieces, those residents, approximately 20,000 honey bees.

Above, a short piece of video showing the bees and the pieces of honeycomb on the ground.

20,000 Bees And Their Hive

Cordoning off the area a beekeeper was sought and Pete, a gardener and beekeeper at Christ Church College, kindly came to their rescue arriving with a new, wooden hive and set about repairing the damage.

A New Home

Donning his beekeeping jacket and thick gloves he placed the wooden hive next to the large collection of bees and within minutes the entrance hole had been found and they had begun to move in. 

Broken Honeycomb And Its Cells, Eggs, Grubs, Larvae

Collecting up all the pieces of the broken hive, clearly showing the intricate construction of the honeycomb, its hundreds of wax cells and their contents, eggs, grubs, larvae and pollen, he slotted it in to wooden frames securing it with elastic bands. 

Grub Bees (Look Closely)


Putting The Honeycomb In To Wooden Frames

Collecting The Honeycomb

Securing The Honeycomb With Elastic Bands

Rebuilding The Hive

A last check was made of the tree for any remaining pieces of the hive that were still attached to the branch. Knocking the pieces off the branch they too were collected up and placed in to a frame and slotted in to the new hive.

Have We Got It all?

Last Piece

Forming An Orderly Queue

Once the last piece had been put in the hive, the bees were left to move in to the hive in their own time. Pete estimated this colony of honey bees at about 20,000 made up of one queen, which he did locate amongst them, a few hundred male drones and thousands of female workers.

Waiting To Go In To Their New Hive
Update, Wednesday 24th August
The colony has successfully moved in to the hive and been removed from the gardens to their new location at a site in Binsey owned by Christ Church. Thank you Christ Church College and, in particular, Pete for you help and for a fascinating afternoon learning about beekeeping and the workings of a colony of bees and their hive, good luck to the bees too!

The Next Day Wednesday 24th August Almost All In

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