honey and honey comb removed from manhole cover by bee keeper

 A nest of honey bees had a lucky escape when Anglian Water’s Field Technician, Mark Jary found them in a manhole in Lakenheath.

The honey bees had started to make a hive inside a manhole cover, when Anglian Water’s Mark Jary uncovered them on his routine checks of the water pipes in his patch.

Mark said: “Rachel (the beekeeper) told me the bees had been busy collecting Ivy and Mustard pollen whilst I had been waiting for her to arrive and this was how they were making honey. I couldn’t thank Rachel enough for her help. She was extremely calm around the bees and the size of the honey comb the bees had been busy making was extraordinary. I think I must be the only Anglian Water employee to have eaten fresh honey and honeycomb direct from one of our manhole covers and it was superb.”

Anglian Water’s biodiversity team recently created a biodiversity handbook for all employees who work out and about so they can identify a range of plants, insects and animals and help to protect the environment, as part of the day job.

Rachel, a beekeeper who rescued the bees, said: “Now I can show all those unbelieving beekeepers that honey bees sometimes do nest in holes in the ground. Usually, honey bees like to use cavities in old trees and I was fully expecting to find a nest of bumblebees which prefer to make their nests in the ground, so was pleasantly surprised to find Mark had correctly identified them.”

The bees have now been moved to a safer home to help them survive over the winter months. They will continue to make honey ahead of the cold winter months, when they use the honey to keep themselves and the Queen Bee warm.

Rachel works alongside and supports an international charity called Bees for Development, which helps people throughout the world to become sustainable beekeepers. The charity’s work in Africa and the Caribbean helps to combat poverty by providing communities with the tools and resources to build sustainable and resilient livelihoods. They also support beekeepers to maintain environments which are not only good for bees, but also for biodiversity and for people.