A heating engineer got the surprise of his life when he opened up a boiler – and was confronted by a swarm of 15,000 bees.
Colin Burbridge, 45, was puzzled when his new boiler stopped working just five months after it was fitted in the kitchen of his engineering firm, M8trix Precision Engineering.
He called somebody to the offices in Henry Crabb Road, Littleport, to fix the problem, but both he and the labourer were left stunned when they took off the boiler cover and discovered a huge bee hive inside.
Mr Burbridge quickly called local beekeepers Stuart and Carol Palmer who duly arrived to safely remove the colony.
Carol, 39, revealed she had only just passed a course with the Cambridgeshire Beekeepers Association last week.
The mother-of-three, also from Littleport, said the swarm must have entered the boiler through the outside vent.
Carol, an assistant accountant, said: “I asked for a bit of advice from more experienced beekeepers.
“They advised that we cut out the comb from inside the boiler and encourage the bees to move away.
“Fortunately, we were able to attract the vast majority into a nucleus box and they are now sitting happily in our garden waiting to be transferred to their new hive.
“There is a vent at the back of the boiler that goes outside and that must be how they managed to get in.
“They had basically made their own hive. They were happy there until we came and got them out.
“Having a suit on and parcel ape around my ankles and wrists gives you that little sense of bravery.”
The pair spent four hours carefully cutting out the comb and placing it into a box to transfer to their garden.
But Carol has revealed that even after she and husband Stuart, 41, left staff at the engineering firm with a considerable clean-up job on their hands.
She said: “There was a lot of honey in there so it was a bit of a sticky job.”