A honeybee colony that was found inside the exterior brickwork of Elmfield Hall, Church has been successfully extracted and relocated following a collaborative effort between Hyndburn Borough Council, Community Solutions North West and Pendle Environmental Services.
Funded by Community Solutions North West, the team at Pendle Environmental Services and officers from Hyndburn Council worked quickly to remove the live colony from the walls. It is estimated that a few thousand bees were in residence (approximated between 5000 to 8000 in total) as the colony was spotted sending out swarms from the restricted space.
The team worked hard to promptly box up the live bees ready for transportation to a new location. The colony has now settled in their new location at a nearby apiary and they are thriving as they begin to build in numbers.
The honeybees entered the property through an air brick sitting above the second floor of Elmfield Hall, just below the height of the roof. It is believed that the colony have been in the space for at least two seasons as they were well-established within the air brick, having both food stores of pollen and capped honey built up.
Cllr Marlene Haworth, Leader of the Council, said:
“I would like to extend a warm thanks to everyone involved in this operation for offering such an effective response to the situation. Community safety is always a top priority for us at the Council so we are pleased that this could be dealt with so swiftly, ensuring the safety of both the bees and the general public who use the facilities in and around Elmfield Hall on a day-to-day basis.”
The queen in this colony was newly mated, meaning that the bees would have very quickly built up to upwards of 20,000 if left as the queen bee can lay up to 1500 eggs per day.
Representative from Pendle Environmental Services said:
“If left in situ, the colony would have continued to throw out swarms and the honeybees would also have the potential to cause damage to the building itself due to an ongoing build up of wax comb.”
After the bees were removed, the remainder of the honeycomb was removed from the air brick to prevent any long-term issues to Elmfield Hall, as well as the brickwork having now been redone to seal the space from any future pests.
Community Solutions North West (CSNW) is a local charity and social enterprise that specialises in engagement and support to empower local people to meet the needs of the area, helping to promote independence, confidence and self-esteem. The charity is based at Elmfield Hall in Gatty Park, one of Hyndburn’s prestigious Green Flag awarded parks, and the group uses the outdoor space as a way of providing a holistic approach to support their participants. Being active outdoors and in nature is beneficial for our mental health and so where possible, the team use the park’s space to host outdoor sessions.
Whilst well-established bee colonies may present problems for buildings, it is still important to conserve the wild bee population to support local biodiversity and pollination, which is why all partners involved in this operation were so keen to relocate the bees from Elmfield Hall to a new apiary where they can thrive.
For more information on how you can access support or get in involved, head to CSNW’s website at: https://csnw.co.uk