This week 60 years ago: Barnsbury man ‘destroys’ 60,000 bees

Islington Gazette: November 22, 1957

Islington Gazette: November 22, 1957 - Credit: Archant

A beekeeper had to deal with 60,000 bees which had settled on top of a Canonbury house.

Harold Woodhead, of Barnsbury Square, was asked by a builder to dislodge the bees in St Paul’s Road.

Looking back at the summer incident at a town hall art exhibition, Mr Woodhead told how he climbed 60ft on a ladder. He saw how the swarm had been making its way up to a cavity wall through a small gap in the brickwork.

Perhaps wisely, he told the builder that he dare not tackle 60,000 bees without scaffolding.

After this was erected, a veiled Mr Woodhead removed the bricks and was peppered with stings.


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He fixed up a honey bait to catch them, but after wet weather the bees had returned to the cavity wall.

Mr Woodhead’s solution was simple. “I destroyed them,” he said. “I realised there was nothing more I could do. Three days later I went back and scooped up the dead bees.”

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