BEEKEEPERS have been braving the flood water on the Somerset Levels to rescue their colonies.

Brian Maskell, of the Quantock Beekeepers Division, had to launch his canoe in order to check his colonies on the site of the Battle of Sedgemoor.

Sadly one of his colonies had drowned but the other, with a special pedigree queen bee, is battling on.

Ken Edwards, Quantock Beekeepers secretary, said: “Four years ago Westonzoyland Women’s Institute decided to support local honeybees and donated a ‘Buckfast’ pedigree queen bee to Brian.

“Last year she was superseded by one of her daughters and the colony was well prepared for the winter.”

Brian will not be able to thoroughly inspect the rescued colony until late March because of the natural overwintering behaviour of honeybees.

Quantock Beekeepers are preparing to help members who have lost bees as a result of floods and will run a queen rearing programme to provide replacement bees in late spring.

Chris Harries, of Sedgemoor Honey Farm at Creech St Michael, had to put on waders to get to some of his bees at West Lyng.

He said: “We had to wade waist-deep through rising floodwater to remove five colonies that were under water.

“At the moment it’s too cold to assess brood nest damage, but some appear to be still alive.”