VIDEO: Unbee-lievable! Watch 75,000 bees being removed from a Victorian thatched cottage in Highclere
The new owner of a derelict cottage in a North Hampshire village got more than he bargained for when he discovered a swarm of bees nesting in the eaves.
Jon and Virginia Bray first spotted the chocolate box derelict cottage in Highclere last year and completed on the purchase in September.
Mr Bray, who is a plumbing and heating engineer and who grew up in Sydney, Australia, said: "We moved to the UK 22 years ago and have been living just outside Reading."
Always on the lookout for a project, Mr Bray was buzzing when he found the Highclere property and started to plan a year long project to make it habitable.
He said today: "If we're going to stick to that timetable, we're going to have to get a move on."
Things first got a bit sticky for the couple in February, when one of the trees in the garden fell victim to Storm Eunice, blocking the lane and costing more than a thousand pounds to remove.
"That has left a sizeable crater in the garden, so we have a bit of a job to do there, but the bees are something else."
Mr Bray called in Manoochehr Gerayesh from Berkshire Bees to remove the swarm, but didn't expect there to be quite so many.
Mr Gerayesh estimates that the swarm have lived there for about 12 years and some of the honeycombs they have created are around two metres long.
He explained: "We cut the honeycombs up and put them in an apiary so the bees can settle into their new home. The longer combs are made up of honey at the top and food for the bees at the bottom."
Mr Bray said that removing the bees will take about three days.
"We have found the queen and we have her safe in a bucket, but we have now found some eggs and the bees won't leave while they are there, so they have to be carefully removed as well."
Video and pictures: Phil Cannings