Between 2500 and 3000 bees were rescued from the Battle Station chimney on the 16th of October 2018. Battle Station is a listed building in East Sussex. These bees were taken to the Bee Hospital which is a blue natural softwood pine hive belonging to Dan, a Bee Removal Technician from Beegone, who is also a beekeeper.
The bee hospital
The bee hospital already housed a bee colony, but the numbers were not great. These existing bees had been rescued from a listed building in the Cotswolds in April 2018. The Colony was about 15 years old. When the bees were rescued there was no queen and so a queen was ordered from a Beekeeper and (if you can believe this) sent via Royal Mail. The queen is delivered in a casing containing fondant. She is put in an inaccessible area of the hive for 7 days before she is introduced to the colony. After 7 days the casing containing the queen is placed in the hive. The colony will either accept her by licking and feeding her through the gaps in the casing or they will reject her by stinging and biting her. Thankfully, in this case they accepted her and they chewed through the fondant layer to release her.
The Battle Station Bees
The honeybees from Battle Station are introduced by placing them in the top layers of the hive with newspaper separating them from the existing colony. The bees chew through the newspaper to get to each other. During the process of chewing through the newspaper the 2 colonies become friends.
Since the two colonies have been integrated the weather has turned cold again after the brief warm spell. The bee hospital has been wrapped up to protect the honeybees from the cold. But upon checking them we are delighted to report that the numbers have increased and the queen is in the process of laying eggs.
Last year Dan harvested 29 jars of honey from the bees in the bee hospital. This year he is hoping for much more now that the colony has grown in strength and numbers.