Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The churchbees

Today we had quite an exciting adventure, a little bit different from the normal pollinator sampling. One of the churches where we sample pollinators in the churchyard asked us for help. They have bees living on the bell tower and a churchwarden got stung. We had to establish what kind of bees they have and if they are really a threat or not.

So we met up in the morning to look at the bees. This was quite adventurous and involved quite a bit of climbing narrow ladders, balancing over beams in the bell chamber and climbing to the top of the bell tower roof, crawling along wooden planks and out through a narrow opening onto the tower roof (see pictures below where Sam is climbing one of the ladders and looking trough the narrow opening on the tower roof).

And there were the bees, busy flying in and out of a ventilation pipe on the balustrade in a corner of the roof (see picture below). And they were obviously honeybees . Apparently they live there for about 4 years now and must originate from an escaped swarm of honeybees from a hive somewhere in the area. They seem to be quite happy there as they have not moved out yet. There are also quite a lot of flowers in the churchyard below, in gardens and on allotment sites nearby for foraging.

After we established that the honeybees are no threat if they are left alone they got an "official" residence permit from the churchwarden. So the bees can carry on foraging now and we carried on with our sampling.

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