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‘The stuff of nightmares’: Chimney removal ends couple bee swarm saga

PUBLISHED: 11:12 03 November 2020 | UPDATED: 11:55 03 November 2020

Dyan McKelvey and her husband Bob have only experienced swarms in recent years after living with the bees in their chimney for 30 years. Picture: Buzz Off

Dyan McKelvey and her husband Bob have only experienced swarms in recent years after living with the bees in their chimney for 30 years. Picture: Buzz Off

Archant

A Norwich bee removal company has helped end a “saga” of bee swarms for a Norfolk couple.

Buzz-Off, bee removal experts from Norwich, visited the McKelvey's home in Newton Flotman after concerns of a bee swarm. Picture: Buzz-OffBuzz-Off, bee removal experts from Norwich, visited the McKelvey's home in Newton Flotman after concerns of a bee swarm. Picture: Buzz-Off

Dyan and Bob McKelvey, from Newton Flotman, have lived with bees in a redundant chimney on their cottage for over 30 years, and had not needed to take action.

Then three years ago in the middle of the night a swarm of thousands of bees came down the chimney and through their bedroom door, covering their bed, lamps and door.

Mrs McKelvey said: “It’s the stuff of nightmares. I still get vivid flashbacks.

“We have lived with honey bees in our chimney for many years. They never really caused us any harm so we left them alone.

Buzz-Off, bee removal experts from Norwich, visited the McKelvey's home in Newton Flotman after concerns of a bee swarm. Picture: Buzz-OffBuzz-Off, bee removal experts from Norwich, visited the McKelvey's home in Newton Flotman after concerns of a bee swarm. Picture: Buzz-Off

“They swarmed in the middle of the night in our bedroom. Our duvet pattern had changed to a bee pattern made up of live bees. They were everywhere.”

At the time, a pest control firm chemically removed the honey bees but said it would be a recurring problem.

It was not until August this year due to the hot weather that a new swarm arrived and the couple contacted Norwich-based business Buzz-Off.

More: Friend not foe: The mole catcher who gets a buzz out of rehoming pest pals

Louise Chapman started the business at the Union Building, in Rose Lane, this year and specialises in removing and rehoming bee colonies.

Buzz-Off, bee removal experts from Norwich, visited the McKelvey's home in Newton Flotman after concerns of a bee swarm. Picture: Buzz-OffBuzz-Off, bee removal experts from Norwich, visited the McKelvey's home in Newton Flotman after concerns of a bee swarm. Picture: Buzz-Off

Chemical insecticides are now being phased out or restricted, in accordance with regulations and incorrect removal or illegal treatment of a honeycomb could result in a fine of up to £25,000.

The swarm did not stay on this occasion but Mrs Chapman removed “a big bucket full” of honeycomb and removed the chimney at the couple’s request.

The honeycomb was described by Mrs Chapman as a “ready-made home” for a new colony of bees.

Mrs McKelvey said; “We couldn’t have that saga again.”

Buzz-Off, bee removal experts from Norwich, visited the McKelvey's home in Newton Flotman after concerns of a bee swarm. Picture: Buzz-OffBuzz-Off, bee removal experts from Norwich, visited the McKelvey's home in Newton Flotman after concerns of a bee swarm. Picture: Buzz-Off

The couple, who are in their 70s, have turned the old chimney into a plant pot in their garden.

Bees naturally swarm during the end of April to the middle of June or spells of hot weather.

Mrs Chapman said; “Our ethos is we will save all of our honey bees. All of the work we do is risky. It does take nerves of steel to stand on a roof with 85,000 angry Italian bees waiting to sting you. We always say ‘morning ladies [to the bees] we are going to move you to a nice place today’.”

Buzz-Off, bee removal experts from Norwich, visited the McKelvey's home in Newton Flotman after concerns of a bee swarm. Picture: Buzz-OffBuzz-Off, bee removal experts from Norwich, visited the McKelvey's home in Newton Flotman after concerns of a bee swarm. Picture: Buzz-Off

Buzz-Off, bee removal experts from Norwich, visited the McKelvey's home in Newton Flotman after concerns of a bee swarm. Picture: Buzz-OffBuzz-Off, bee removal experts from Norwich, visited the McKelvey's home in Newton Flotman after concerns of a bee swarm. Picture: Buzz-Off


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