Hive of activity at Hillside Wood to save bee colony

A colony of bees has been saved when their oak tree home was blown down in strong winds blocking a path through Hillside Wood in Rivacre Valley Country Park.

With the assistance of a local beekeeping expert and the Council’s tree contractor, Mancoed, the colony of bees was successfully encouraged out of their natural nest that was made inside a hollow area of the tree.

An entry gap was cut above the bees’ nest to allow the honeycomb containing the eggs, some of the worker bees and most importantly, the queen, to be brought out and placed onto a frame in a temporary-built hive for transit.

Once this part was complete the remaining bees were encouraged into the box by a number of methods.

Worker bees then started to fan and produce pheromones at the entrance to the temporary hive, confirming that the queen had been brought out with the honeycomb and was safely inside the temporary hive.

The Council’s Director of Environment and Communities, Maria Byrne said, “I’m delighted to report it has been confirmed that bees at all stages of their life cycle are now safely re-housed and thriving in a larger hive just outside Chester.  After the winter, they will continue their important role of pollination.”

Honeybees in the UK do not migrate to find warmer weather like other winged animals, they prefer to stay close to home and rarely leave the hive during the winter months.

The honeybee is the only bee to maintain a colony throughout the winter. The colony reduces its size in autumn and relies on its stores of honey to last it through the winter months when it is too cold for foraging or there is no food source available.

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