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60,000 bees removed from hospital roof

Unbeelievable: A colony of around 60,000 bees lived in the hospital roof (4367029)
Unbeelievable: A colony of around 60,000 bees lived in the hospital roof (4367029)

Beekeepers spent more than ten hours removing an enormous colony of bees at Fulbourn Hospital.

Staff at the mental health facility first raised the alarm when they spotted bees flying in and out of the roof, but it was only when Lancashire-based removal experts Tree Bee Society peeled back the roof on September 12 that the full scale of the invasion became clear.

Andy Reade, Tree Bee director, estimated about 60,000 bees lived in the building and said it was a challenge to remove the colony.

"We have taken roofs off from the outside before but we couldn't get it off. The roof was stuck with what was like a rubbery concrete so we had to bring the ceiling down on the inside," he said.

As honey oozed from between the gaps in the brick and plasterwork the team of three started to remove the colony which had called the hospital home for several years.

Abigail Reade, who is also a director at the not-for-profit organisation, said: "We did get stung a few times and although we are used to it, it is still very painful. We've got full bee-keeping suits on but a few can still find their way through a gap and sting us."

It took about ten hours to remove the infestation, which were transported across the country in a specially built 3ft square bee hive.

Garry Locke, estates and facilities project manager at the trust, said: "We were amazed when we saw how many bees were in the loft space of the porch in Beechcroft. We thought there might be a few because staff had reported seeing them flying in and out was incredible."

The bees have now been removed from their home in the staff-only Beechcroft building and are now at Burscough, west Lancashire.

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