I was called to the Selmeston wild-living bees, as the owner said the hive had been knocked over and the bees had disappeared. I was rather alarmed as we had strapped up the hive and made sure it was secure when we transferred the old crumbling hive on to the new one. The bees had also done a tremendous job of sticking the whole thing together with propolis, so I was curious to see what had happened.
Oh dear. Definitely badgers. They don’t normally take any notice of beehives but we have had a long winter (for this part of the UK) and mammals must be feeling the pinch with growth and warmth so delayed. The honey and nest had all been eaten. I don’t know if the colony was alive before the badgers waded in, or whether the bees had died out beforehand but there was not a trace of them. They also had not done any building in the new brood box – not uncommon but the frames were untouched.
I have set the hive up again and made sure it is free of debris. The rest of the frames and honey have been left for the badgers, foxes and birds. Hopefully a swarm will move in, but we will have to see what happens as the season unfolds.