Ten Mile Bank couple come to the rescue after heating engineer uncovers thousands of bees hidden inside boiler

08:42 13 June 2014

The bees turned a boiler into a hive

The bees turned a boiler into a hive

Archant

A heating engineer got the fright of a lifetime when he discovered a swarm of more than 10,000 bees lurking inside a boiler.

Stuart and Carol PalmerStuart and Carol Palmer

The engineer was called out to Littleport firm, M8trix, based in Henry Crabb Road, on June 2, following complaints from manager Colin Burbridge that his new boiler had suddenly stopped working after just a few months.

But, when the front of the boiler was removed, a fully-functioning hive, complete with a queen, honey and thousands of disgruntled bees, was discovered.

Fortunately, Mr Burbridge was able to call on Ten Mile Bank couple Stuart and Carol Palmer, who had recently completed a course with the Cambridgeshire Beekeepers Association and felt brave enough to try and tackle the bees.

Carol, who works for a pharmaceutical firm, in Cambridge, said: “We haven’t been doing this a long time at all, we only started the beekeeping course in January so really and truly we are still learning.

“But we have bought all the gear and when we got the call we thought ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’.

“I asked for a bit of advice from more experience beekeepers and they advised that we cut out the comb from inside the boiler and encourage the bees to move that way.

“Fortunately, we were able to attract the vast majority into a nucleus box and they are now sitting happily in our garden, waiting to be transferred to their new hive.”

Carol suspects that the bees found their way into the boiler about six-to-eight weeks ago through a gap in the air intake pipe.

The bees will be Carol and Stuart’s second hive – their first only arrived in May - but the couple are confident the new arrivals will quickly settle in.

As for the boiler, Carol added that it was not quite up and running again yet.

She said: “They are continuing the clean-up job. There was a lot of honey in there so it was a bit of a sticky job!”

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