Heatwave leads to historic hive meltdown inside Perth wall cavity
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When Diana Gomes and her husband moved a couch recently, they were startled by a thick, dark liquid dripping down the wall.
"There was this liquid leaking from the wall from the top of the skirting board and going all the way to the timber floor and it just looked really strange," Ms Gomes told Nadia Mitsopoulos on ABC Radio Perth.
"It looked like blood," she said.
"We got closer to it and checked it out. We touched it and it was thick and sticky.
"It didn't feel like blood, and then I just thought the closest thing it looked like was honey."
Both Ms Gomes and her husband tasted a very small amount, and their suspicions were confirmed.
"It was sweet, and it was just honey, yeah," she said.
While the couple had identified the substance, they were perplexed by the cause.
"We've got no bees in the house. I've never seen any bees around it."
The area where the honey was oozing from was a blocked-up fireplace.
"We bought the house four years ago. We know there was a chimney there, but the chimney was already closed when we bought it," Ms Gomes said.
"My husband went to the roof to check the top and the chimney was completely sealed, there were no bees around or anything."
The couple eventually decided it must have been an old hive that had been in the space for years.
Perth experienced two heatwaves over Christmas and January, when temperatures reached over 40 degrees Celsius for up to six days running, which the couple suspect made the honey melt.
Ms Gomes said they cleaned the wall and floor but were still left with the problem of the hive trapped in the cavity.
"I don't want to but I think we're going to have to [knock the wall down]," she said.
"We contacted the home insurance and they don't cover it."
A few days later Ms Gomes confirmed that the couple had bitten the bullet and knocked into the wall, discovering a whopping 101kg lump of honey and hive in the old fireplace.
"Lucky there were no bees, it was just an old massive hive," she said.
"We removed it and cleaned everything ourselves and it was a very hard job, but I am extremely happy and relieved we sorted it out."
Honey can survive for centuries in the right conditions, and has even been found in archaeological excavations of Ancient Egyptian sites, thanks to its composition and chemical properties.
It is most likely to be preserved in dry conditions as humidity can lead to fermentation.
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