Many people are totally unaware of the importance of bees.
However one couple in Bo’ness were educated enough to know that destroying a comb in their chimney should be the last resort and they looked towards the Helix Beekeepers in Falkirk for help.
Helen and Terry from Bo’ness noticed a colony of bees had set up camp in a chimney next to theirs.
A builder needed access to the chimney as it had become blocked and with the cold weather drawing closer the couple needed it to be in use.
However the bees posed a problem and the builder could not safely get near the chimney.
The couple were put in touch with the Helix Beekeepers through Falkirk Council.
One of the volunteers, Jo McNally, went to the house to investigate the bees.
She said: “We sometimes get phone calls from the public asking us to come and investigate a variety of flying insects.
“We are interested in all bees but in many cases there is no need to phone us as the animals are very docile and only attack as a last resort and will soon move on.
“We are hoping to educate people more about bees and all the different types so people understand how to deal with them.”
Once Jo had identified the bees as honeybees she contacted Glasgow based company Adept Pest Control Ltd for help.
John Stewart from the company explained the way they got beekeeper Jo on to the roof.
He said: “We had to set up three tiers of ladders so Jo was safe on the roof.”
Despite it not being advisable to disturb bees, let alone move them, Jo knew it was the only option.
She said: “The wax in the comb is highly flammable, so to have it close to a chimney is just asking for trouble. The bees had to be moved before it became dangerous.”
John then smoked the bees, making them docile and easier for Jo to begin extracting the comb.
He said: “Of course we could have exterminated them, however in our company that is always the last resort.
“We are in the business of preservation not just extermination.”
With the thousands of bees calm, Jo used a hot knife to cut the comb from the chimney.
She said: “The comb is extremely fragile but incredibly strong and the bees were calm and concentrating on protecting their queen so gave me no hassle.
“It proves how non-aggressive these insects are. I was literally ripping up their home and only one bee died trying to save its home.”
The comb and bees were placed in a plastic container and moved safely to a small nucleus hive in Jo’s garden.
John explained how important bees are to the economy and how everyone would feel the sting if bees were to become extinct.
He said: “One third of the food we eat would not be available but for bees. “The harvest from honey bees of honey, pollen, wax and propolis has nutritional, craft, manufacturing and medical applications.
“People take more notice when you say it would greatly affect the economy though, which killing bees would.”
More information is available at the Helix beekeepers Facebook page and at adeptpestcontrol.co.uk.