Chimney colony at Brynsiencyn 22 July 2011

Bees were first noticed coming into the bedroom below the chimney about a fortnight previously. There was no access to the former fireplace as there was a built in wardrobe in front of it.

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Bees were entering through an 'elephant's foot' cap. Which was held in place with a thin ring of mortar.


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When the mortar, which was very loose, was removed, it turned out that the cap was merely resting on the chimney capping slab. Thus, what might have been a nine inch access hole to the flue turned out to be only a rectangle of 3 x 4 inches. This made extracting the combs somewhat difficult. There were five combs, the longest being 230 mm. One and part of another fell down the flue during the extraction.

Below: Bees on top of the combs.

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Below: Combs partly cleared of bees with a bee vacuum which takes all but a very few of them alive.

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Below: Use of bent pipe to access bees under the capping slab.

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Below: Some combs removed.

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Below: Comb with pollen (orange cells), larvae and eggs. There was no capped brood, indicating that the first observation of bees in the house coincided with the arrival of the swarm.

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Below: View of top of flue.

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Below: View to first bend in the flue.

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After the bees and comb were removed the cap was temporarily replaced. After this photo was taken, a 12-inch square piece of polypropylene garden windbreak mesh was inserted below the cap as an extra barrier to bees and to be available for use as an insect-proof barrier when the flue is re-capped. The old comb adhering to the inside of the cap indicates that there had been bees in the colony previously, although its nest, if any, had almost completely disappeared.

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