Oxford

Massive beehive removed from Oxfordshire church roof

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Media captionThe Oxfordshire church has been home to the bees for about 20 years

A massive colony of bees has been removed from a church after its hive caused the roof to sag and honey to drip down the walls.

The 50,000 insects were disrupting services at St Nicholas' Church in Piddington, Oxfordshire.

The church has been home to the bees for about 20 years.

The Reverend Stephen Hayes said: "I'm hoping they're attracted by the dynamic preaching... their hive is directly above the pulpit."

He added: "We've got a sagging roof. We've got honey dripping down the walls and of course... as the sun gets warmer we have 100-200 bees coming in and not able to find their way out.

"They're attracted by the bride's white dress, and so they will come and investigate during a wedding which is not always welcome."

Image caption The bees caused honey to seep through the roof
Image caption Specialists from the Tree Bee Society removed the hive

After carrying out tests, specialists from the Tree Bee Society decided to remove part the roof to extract the bees.

Abigail Reade said: "We weren't sure how the roof was constructed, if we were safe to put our ladders on there to lean our weight on there, [or if we] were going to come through the ceiling of the roof and make things 10 times worse.

"We reckon we're probably going to get maybe about five litres of honey, which is quite a substantial amount really, especially when it's in the ceiling of a property rather than in jars."

While the honey taken from the roof is too dirty to be consumed, the wax retrieved will be made into hand cream.

The bees will be rehomed at the society's base in Lancashire.

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