Honey bee cutout – flat roof

Removal of honey bees in a flat roof

This was one of our early jobs – sadly I can’t find many photos for this honey bee cutout from a flat roof void, in fact we don’t seem to have that many photos showing examples of honey bees in a flat roof, which is strange as we have done a fair few honey bee relocation’s like this.

I remember turning-up on a Sunday morning having no real idea of what to be expecting other than that we had been told that there were some honey bees in a flat roof and that they needed to be removed. Thankfully the roof was being replaced so we were allowed free access to it. On removing the felt and lifting the boards we came across some beautifully clean fresh looking stores – surprising as this was in early March – these girls had obviously been really productive the previous year. These bees had been fairly considerate often we will find that they brace the comb to the plasterboard but they hadn’t done a lot of that and it allowed for an easy cleanup which we don’t usually find when removing honey bees in a flat roof.

We prefer by far to carry out honey bee removal work in early spring – it benefits everybody. The wax has all been capped off and is generally stiffer than during the summer, so a lot less messy. The bees have shown themselves to be a robust colony having come thru the winter. There is a lot less honey to be dealing with as the bees will have been using it over winter. The bees are not so fast to have a go preferring to cluster together. The only downside to it is the weather, its not clever being up on a wet slippery roof on a windy day, and bee suits don’t offer much protection when the rain makes them cling to your skin and the wind is blowing the mesh hood right up against your face. But this was a nice clear dry day giving us the perfect opportunity to get to the bees quickly.

I always feel bad when we need to damage a structure to get to the honey bee colony, but in this instance of honey bees in a flat roof the roof was not in great repair and the intention was to completely reinstate over the next few days. So we cut into the roof having pulled back the felting and uncovered the colony. Once we had cleared the bees and honey stores from the roof void we then needed to clean up the comb running down into the wall cavity. This was not as easy as it was very tight and difficult to get to all the comb but it was cleared without dropping any to the bottom of the cavity – this is something that should be avoided as much as possible.

This cutout was clearly done a few years back as we don’t appear to be using a polystyrene nuc box. This is used for the young brood and eggs to allow for the development of a new queen should we not find the original queen. On completion we recombine the bees vacuumed into the holding box back with the brood and nurse bees as soon as possible.

 

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If you are looking for more info on removing bees from a chimney check out our article Removing bees in a chimney, for information on bee removal and relocation from roofs you may want to look at our page Honey bees in roof, or if you have bees in a wall our page Honey bees in wall maybe of use, For additional examples on removals of honey bees from other more unusual places check thru our blog page Honey Bee Removal EXPERTS and search for “unusual bee removals”.