AllRound Tree Services are a versatile bunch, with more than just tree lopping skills up their sleeve.

Last month, owner-director Simon Maloney took a call from the council on behalf of Redcliffe State School with a request for one of AllRound’s lesser-known areas of expertise – beehive removal.

A feral hive of the introduced species the European Honey Bee had established itself right at the entrance of the school, overhanging the gate, where it posed a tricky problem for removal. The school and council opted to call AllRound rather than treat the issue as a mere pest control problem, as they wished to both safely relocate the bees and preserve the gum they had colonised.

The European Honey Bee is a highly social insect, which lives in large hives with a single queen, and will aggressively defend the hive with a barbed sting. The hive posed an ongoing risk to the school population as for those allergic to bee sting the symptoms can be serious, including breathing difficulties and collapse.

Simon’s removal technique involved donning a beekeeper’s protective clothing with mesh helmet and smoking the easily-agitated bees to calm them, before removing the main part of the hive housing the queen. A 5am start also helped, as bees are sleepier and less aggressive in the early hours, and the minimum-impact operation was over by the time the children started arriving for school.

Simon completed the job by reducing the branch that had housed the hive, as its integrity had been compromised, and doing a dead wood detail on the tree, to ensure it posed a low risk to the school population.

The bees were then safely relocated to a local beekeeper.

Simon and his crew at AllRound Tree Services are justifiably proud of their versatile problem-solving skills. Simon is not even sure that the hive removal was his most unusual job – that honour, he says, may go to abseiling furniture down a high-rise building.

But that’s another story …