THOUSANDS of honey bees nesting in a gas meter were killed by engineers, despite pleas from the home owner to save them.

Tony Norton, 65 of Metz Avenue, Canvey, said his ‘gas bees’ had been there for almost two years, and had started to create honeycombs and nectar.

He warned inspectors for Siemens Energy Services and was assured they would be moved before any work would be carried out.

Just a few hours later, exterminators showed up at his home and killed the entire colony.

It comes just days after Friends of the Earth launched a campaign urging the Government to take urgent action to help put a stop to the decline of bees in the UK.

Mr Norton said: “I’m absolutely disgusted by what’s happened. The bees were not doing any harm to anyone. I know they have to look at the meter, but I was assured the bees would be relocated before they would start anything.

“They’ve just decided to take the cheaper and faster option and kill them all off. They’ve treated them like wasps when the fact is we can’t live without them.

“We may not be able to save these bees, but hopefully they will stop doing this and we can save bees from being killed in the future.”

Recent statistics revealed bee numbers in the UK have fallen by as much as 50 per cent in the last 25 years due to the increased use of common crop pesticides.

A spokesman from Siemens said: “We take the safety of employees and of the general public very seriously.

“This is an unusual place for bees to be nesting and we are looking into the particular circumstances of this incident.”

For more information on the Friends of the Earth campaign, visit