Although this colony is not - strictly speaking - living in a natural habitat, it's an amazing example of how bees follow their natural instincts when left to their own devices.
This thin walled hive is in total disrepair, on a north facing hedge that gets no sun, and according to the landowner had been occupied by bees for the last 4 years. She wanted the hive relocated.
On closer inspection I could see these survivor bees were notably hairy, quite small, very active and by all accounts looking very healthy. The top super was completely rotten with mostly unoccupied random comb structures. The bottom brood box was not much of an improvement, but none the less, occupied with bees & stores. The right hand side of the box contained frames whilst the left hand side had the remainder of 2 manky plastic feeders?
There was not much I could do by either relocating or rehoming the colony without putting its existence at risk. I removed the feeder remnants to make some space for the bees and then covered them with an insulated roof and left them to it.
I explained to the land owner the significance of these bees and persuaded her to keep them there.
4 months down the line I returned and had a quick look to see how they were doing. I was amazed. As you can see they have built an intricate comb structure, creating a draft free warm environment to make the best of a bad situation. A year down the line and they are still going strong.
30 Apr 2020
Total reported by Simon is 8