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Bury St Edmunds beekeeper on a mission to save species after removing 'rare' hive from elderly couple's home



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A Bury St Edmunds beekeeper on a mission to save the species stumbled across a ‘very rare’ hive after stepping in to help an elderly couple.

Karen Stroud works as a security manager at the Bank of England, in London, and in her spare time keeps bees at an apiary in Essex.

The 48-year-old is on a Facebook group for bee lovers and came across a post about the couple, Derek and June Field, who live near West Suffolk Hospital and had a hive in their back garden which needed removing.

Karen Stroud with Derek and June Field. All pictures: Barnaby Shaw.
Karen Stroud with Derek and June Field. All pictures: Barnaby Shaw.

On Monday, Karen went with Barnaby Shaw, of Bee Urban, a London-based social enterprise, to Mr and Mrs Fields’ home and what they saw shocked them.

“I went to retrieve them and I never expected anything like it, there were thousands of bees,” Karen said. “I got so much honey off of them, and the queen.”

“I kid you not, it was amazing,” she added. “Basically a swarm landed in about April and managed to take residence on a branch outside.”

Karen with the open comb hive.
Karen with the open comb hive.

But what made the hive different to most others was the fact it had an open comb, something Karen said was ‘very rare’.

On Tuesday, Karen transported the hive down to the apiary. And it was just in time, she said, as inclement weather would have seen the hive destroyed if she had not moved it.

Karen, who was in the Army before taking up her current role at the Bank of England, came to beekeeping after a period of travelling and discovering about the insect’s plight.

“I just wanted to help save the bees with the population diminishing and I just thought if I can do something to help, and it got obsessive,” she said.

“I started with one hive (in Essex) and now I’m on my fourth. But the bank support me and they think it’s great. I do open days with the kids as well.”

Some studies have revealed bee populations worldwide are in decline due to climate change.

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