VANDALS who lifted the roof of a beehive have killed 6,000 honey bees.

Beekeeper Bill Tamblyn, 74, found the dead bees while making his regular checks.

He began working with the Abberton Reservoir Nature Reserve nearly three years ago after taking up beekeeping as a retirement hobby.

When he looked across at the bees, Mr Tamblyn saw the heavy sloped roof was hanging off.


“My heart sank,” he said. “I’ve never felt so awful and so sad.

“In lifting the roof off they had disturbed the three inches of insulation within the roof space keeping the bees warm so they froze to death.

“This was sheer bloody-mindedness.

“Perhaps initially it was inquisitiveness but then whoever it was, and I believe there were two people because of the weight of the roof, probably realised there were bees inside and the roof was too heavy so they ran off.”


The swarm of bees was also part of research been done at the nature reserve to see how to maintain a top-bar hive in the British climate.

It was vital to have had a complete one-year cycle but the swarm had only survived half of this.

Mr Tamblyn, from Peldon, added: “I’ll be able to replace the bees with another swarm hopefully in April or May but this was not the point.

“However, the response from Colchester Beekeepers has been magnificent. I’ve been offered a lot of help and the first lot of swarms once they receive them.”