Couple discovered their home has been turned into giant beehive - after honey started dripping down the walls
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A couple were shocked to discover their home had been turned into a giant beehive - after honey started dripping down the walls. Kate Dempsey, 41, initially dismissed the dark patches as damp.
But the sweet smell made her reconsider and she pulled up the floorboards at home in Folkestone, Kent. This revealed the "insane" find - huge six-foot pieces of honeycomb and litres of honey.
Kate, a diversity and inclusion advisor, said: “We’d never seen anything like it. The sheer volume of the hive was huge. We kept cutting these floorboards away and more and more honeycomb kept appearing.
“The smell hit you immediately. It was this sweet stench and we had this really sickly smell for ages - [I just felt] disbelief really.” Kate was quoted up to £10,000 when she tried to find a company to clean up all the honeycomb.
So, along with some friends and husband Andrew Dempsey, 42, a communications director, she decided to tackle the problem herself. They donned a pair of rubber gloves to scoop the sticky honey out, removing huge amounts.
It took the team four weeks to remove all the honeycomb from under the floor. And to make matters worse, a swarm of ‘robber bees’ swooped in to try and claim the sweet stuff for themselves - but luckily no one got stung.
Maggots and moths were also found on the floor. Kate said: “It all started in the really hot summer last year. We noticed black sticky stuff coming down our bedroom wall.
“It got to the point where we couldn’t ignore it anymore. I smelt it and tasted it and it was honey. I didn’t have any idea what was going on.
"We’d spotted bees when we first moved in but they disappeared, and we’d had the house repainted. I went to our daughter’s room which is above ours and pulled back the carpet.
“These massive maggots started crawling out of the floorboards. We decided we were going to pull up the floorboards and see what was going on.
“We found an old hive and it was almost composting, loads of moths were coming out. We started pulling more and more, there just seemed to be no end, it was absolutely disgusting.
“We pulled up this massive six-foot honeycomb. When we were in the middle of [clearing it out], we woke up one morning and the room was full of bees. We called local beekeepers for help and one came to look – he said that they were robber bees and they had come to the nest to steal the honey.
"He said to use marigold gloves because the bees can’t sting through them, and to wear lots of layers. But the beekeeper showed the pattern of behaviour - the bees flying in through a hole in the wall, getting the honey, and flying straight out through the window again - so the bees weren’t that interested in any of us anyway.
"We went in at dusk too, which the beekeeper suggested, as there were only a few bees left at that time." Robber bees is a name used to describe honey bees which invade other hives and steal the honey.
Kate said: “We kept finding more and more, there’s a bit of roof above our window and that was full of golden honey too. You can imagine the mess. It was horrendous.
“We took it to the tip in big bags, there were 20 massive bin bags full of honey. The honey wasn’t edible, a lot of the comb had been attacked by moths. Had it been a live honeycomb, we would have got local beekeepers in to extract and relocate it.
"But we were in a bit of a pickle because we couldn’t get anyone to take it unless we paid a huge cost, and they also would have exterminated the bees which we wanted to avoid.I was really worried about the scale of how much damage could have been caused. I have no idea [how long it was there] but it would have taken a very long time.
“It took us about four weeks in total to remove all the honey but all of us were really keen to try our best not to disrupt the bees or kill any. We wanted to encourage other people to check their houses, because we ignored ours for a while.
"We didn’t realise the amount of damage they caused, and it occurred to us that our story can help other people and make them aware. We’d been so preoccupied sorting it all out after they were removed, that it didn’t cross our minds until now.”