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Newcastle home becomes honeycomb house when bees invade walls

Kirrily Schwarz, October 8, 2017 8:08PM news.com.au

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Megan Sutherland found bees, honey and honeycomb in the walls of her home. media_cameraMegan Sutherland found bees, honey and honeycomb in the walls of her home.

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Reading level: green

NSW resident Megan Sutherland woke up one Saturday morning to a bit of a buzz about her house.

There was a swam of bees outside her window and, on closer inspection, her bedroom wall was full of bees as well.

They had travelled through the wall cavities, all the way up to the ceiling and were busy turning their hive* into a fully fledged honey factory.

Ms Sutherland spoke to Channel 7’s Sunrise program from her home in Newcastle and said she was shocked to find the entire wall was packed with honeycomb.

Honeycomb in the walls. Picture: Sunrise media_cameraHoneycomb in the walls. Picture: Sunrise

“I’ve, sort of, got stuck into trying to pull it out at the moment,” she said.

“Literally. Everywhere, it’s just sticky.”

She’s been pulling out the plaster bit-by-bit, and is collecting buckets of honeycomb on her bedroom floor.

How bees are usually cultivated by people. Picture: AAP media_cameraHow bees are usually cultivated by people. Picture: AAP

She extracted* about 30kg of honey on the first day and is now coming to terms with the damage to her home.

“I’m thinking there’s more damage than what I can actually see,” she said,

Ms Sutherland said she thinks the bees have been working away unnoticed for two or more years, and she now has serious concerns about the integrity* of the wall’s structure.

She’s also constantly worried about being stung.

“I’ve blocked off the weep holes*, so I’m safe there now, but yeah it’s just the work of cleaning it up. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me.

“It’s just crazy!”

In the meantime, she’s trying to bottle as much honey as she can.

“I’ve got lots of friends who want it, and who want to buy it (from) me. I have bottled a couple … I’ve got no idea how much you charge for honey,” she said.

Bees and a bee hive. Picture: AFP/ Paul J. Richards media_cameraBees and a bee hive. Picture: AFP/ Paul J. Richards

“Insurance doesn’t cover it so I’m going to have to recoup* somehow, but you know, like, what can I do?”

If ever there was a case of making lemonade from lemons, this is it.

In fact, it would probably go quite nicely with some of that honey.

GLOSSARY

hive: structure bees live in
extracted: removed
integrity
: ability to stand up

weep holes: small openings between bricks
recoup:
get back

L ISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

Activity 1.

Summarise the article by explaining the who, what, when, where, why and how this happened.

Extension: Is there money in honey?

If the average price of 500g of honey is $7 and Ms Sutherland sold it for this price, how much money could she earn by selling 30kg of honey?

• If she bottled it in 500g jars and each jar cost her $0.50, what would her profit be for 30kg of honey?

• If she bottled it in 250g jars and each jar cost her $0.40, what would her profit be for 30kg of honey?

• If she bottled it in 1kg jars and each jar cost her $0.75, what would her profit be for 30kg of honey?

• Which way of bottling the honey would give her the greatest profit?


Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Mathematics

Activity 2. Bees Alive!

Create an information report about bees.

Include information about the classification and anatomy of the bee, structure of the hive, the different roles of bees, what they eat, how and why they make honey and how they communicate.
Also include information about how bees are important to life on earth.

Include diagrams of the hive and/or a bee.

Extension:

Imagine you were the Queen Bee of the hive.
Re-write this article from the Queen’s perspective.
One day you had a fully secure hive and then the next day, the wall of your hive has been demolished and your honeycomb is being taken away.

Time: allow 60 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Science, Critical and Creative Thinking

VCOP ACTIVITY

(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)

Explain it

Ms Sutherland says she now has serious concerns about the integrity of the wall’s structure.

What does she mean by this and why is she worried?

Explain another time when the structure of something is a concern and why.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP- Vocabulary

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