A senior reserves officer was walking through England’s Northamptonshire’s Pitsford Water Nature Reserve when she spotted what appeared to be a plastic bag caught in some tree branches. But on closer inspection it was bee hive — but without its typical external casing.

The bright white honeycomb was hanging about (6.5 feet) 2 meters up in a hawthorn bush.

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“It was about the size and width of my hand and looked to be a bright white honeycomb,” noted Sarah Gibbs in a recent Wildlife Trusts blog post. “No signs of bees or wasps were present but I was intrigued to know what would create such a beautifully fragile and exposed structure.”

After snapping some pics, Gibbs sent the pics to a friend who studies bees and wasps. It’s apparently a structure created by a swarm of honey bees on the move.

David White of the Northamptonshire Beekeepers’ Association explains:

This is a wild comb generated by a swarm of honey bees; when bees swarm they top up with a three day supply of food from the hive that they have just left, and using their wax glands will generate a comb in the wild. The fact that the comb is still there suggests that the colony of bees was possibly spotted by an active beekeeper who gave them the opportunity of a permanent home.

So the structure was only meant it to be temporary. Hopefully the bees managed to find more suitable digs nearby.

[ The Wildlife Trusts of Bedfordshire-Cambridgeshire-Northamptonshire ]


Contact the author at george@io9.com and @dvorsky. Top image by Sarah Gibbs/The Wildlife Trusts of Bedfordshire-Cambridgeshire-Northamptonshire