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Old 06-25-2012, 04:56 AM   #1
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Clearing builder's rubbish buried at foot of garden


I live in a flat which is the ground floor of a converted Victorian house. I've spent the past year working on the long garden, which had fallen into a very neglected state.

At the end of the garden there's a patch of earth measuring 5 metres in width and 3.5 metres in length. The soil rises two or three feet from the end of the garden path.

I would like to level it, and plant a few small trees and shrubs, and turn one corner into a seating area. Neighbouring houses have turned this space into decking, or have sheds or studios there.

However as I dug down, I discovered that builder's waste had been buried there, from when the house was converted into flats. I don't think the whole mound is filled with this waste - there's a lot of soil there too. But there's quite a bit of it, and it's been there about fifteen years. I don't mean bricks or rubble, it's more like old linoleum and fittings, since it was dumped there after the property's conversion into flats rather than initial construction.

Who would I hire to dig out all of the rubbish, and level the soil? Would it be a gardener, a casual labourer, or some kind of waste disposal person? How much could I expect to pay?

The only access to the garden is through the front door and through the house, so it wouldn't be possible to get anything like a digger in.

Because of the height of the shed and studio in the adjacent gardens, I think we would need to just level, or 'build up' the soil on this area, not actually remove it all.

Given enough time, and a solid pair of work gloves, I could do the job myself, if I hired a skip in which to dump all the rubbish. Though could it be hazardous in any way?

I'd appreciate any suggestions for the best way to approach this.

Here's a photo of what I've removed so far - rotten linoleum, rusted barrels, drain rods, bits of pipe:



And a general shot of the space:



Thanks for reading.


Last edited by jimdixon; 06-25-2012 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:52 AM   #2
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Clearing builder's rubbish buried at foot of garden


I just spent a little more time working on it, and found a garden rake is the best way to pull the rubbish away; better than a shovel.

But there are quite a few bees flying low above the rubbish, which now has made me worried that perhaps there's a nest in the ground.

And as I dig away, I might uncover something more dangerous than old floor tiles....


Last edited by jimdixon; 06-25-2012 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:19 AM   #3
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Clearing builder's rubbish buried at foot of garden


Yep--you likely have a yellow jacket nest---Sevin dust is the best to kill an entire nest-

Sit near by and watch these things---soon enough you can find the nest--they make a 'bee line' to the hole.

Dump a cup of powder on the hole---best to do this at night when they are all in the nest.

The entering yellow jackets will drag the poison into the nest.

Don't kid around with them---last time I hit a nest I was stung 28 times (and stopped breathing)

Thank god the paramedics arrived in time----
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:32 AM   #4
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Clearing builder's rubbish buried at foot of garden


Thanks for your reply. Actually I just went and took a closer look and they are definitely bumble bees!

The most I will see at any one time is about 5-6, flying out of and around the same newly-revealed spot where I have been digging away the rubbish.

So I guess I have disturbed them a little bit, but the actual nest is buried deeper than I have reached, and I haven't got them into war mode quite yet.

I'm curious how far underground can bees nest?

If I keep digging, I am going to get trouble, right? At this stage I should get an expert in?

I expect the pest-removal guy is not going to be interested in digging through rubbish, and the waste-disposal/labourer wouldn't be enthusiastic about digging up a beehive. So maybe I need both.

Here's a picture I took. It's difficult to get them to stay still long enough to be photographed!

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Old 06-25-2012, 11:24 AM   #5
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Clearing builder's rubbish buried at foot of garden


Pictures to fuzzey to see what they are.
http://www.adkinsbeeremoval.com/bee-id-chart.php
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:07 PM   #6
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Clearing builder's rubbish buried at foot of garden


Quote:
Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
Yep--you likely have a yellow jacket nest---Sevin dust is the best to kill an entire nest-

Sit near by and watch these things---soon enough you can find the nest--they make a 'bee line' to the hole.

Dump a cup of powder on the hole---best to do this at night when they are all in the nest.

The entering yellow jackets will drag the poison into the nest.

Don't kid around with them---last time I hit a nest I was stung 28 times (and stopped breathing)

Thank god the paramedics arrived in time----
Ouch
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:10 PM   #7
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Clearing builder's rubbish buried at foot of garden


Mike already told you how to handle it. You can call an expert for lots of $ or follow his advice. If you DIY make sure you do it at night or a rainy day
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:18 PM   #8
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Clearing builder's rubbish buried at foot of garden


I don't know where you are located in the world, but assuming that you have a cold season and you're willing and able to wait, I'd leave this until things get good and cold. The bees won't bother you then. If you don't have a cold season, then you are going to have to get a professional in to deal with the vespids safely.

That area isn't enormous, I'd tackle it myself. If you can pull the junk out piece by piece and put it someplace where it can be accessed and inspected, you can either rent a debris dumpster or find a contractor that is doing a demolition somewhere and ask if they would be willing to take your debris for a few pounds/dollars/other relevant currency. They'll want to see it first so they know that they aren't dealing with anything hazardous. I'd be sure to dig everything up and get it level first so you know exactly how much debris you have.
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:20 PM   #9
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Clearing builder's rubbish buried at foot of garden


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunder Chicken View Post
I don't know where you are located in the world, but assuming that you have a cold season and you're willing and able to wait, I'd leave this until things get good and cold. The bees won't bother you then. If you don't have a cold season, then you are going to have to get a professional in to deal with the vespids safely.

That area isn't enormous, I'd tackle it myself. If you can pull the junk out piece by piece and put it someplace where it can be accessed and inspected, you can either rent a debris dumpster or find a contractor that is doing a demolition somewhere and ask if they would be willing to take your debris for a few pounds/dollars/other relevant currency. They'll want to see it first so they know that they aren't dealing with anything hazardous. I'd be sure to dig everything up and get it level first so you know exactly how much debris you have.

UK, I would guess
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:17 AM   #10
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Clearing builder's rubbish buried at foot of garden


Thanks for all your good advice. Yes, I'm in the UK.

I've been reading up on bees, and it seems clear they are 'Bombus terrestris': http://www.bumblebee.org/terr.htm
I found this interesting reading about their nests, too: http://www.bumblebee.org/faqNests.htm

Yesterday evening and this morning I kept on digging out rubbish safely to the sides of the stretch where the nest must be, and I'll now try raking and leveling these side areas. The whole area is about 5 metres across, and the span with the bees emerging and patrolling is obviously much smaller, a metre or so. I guess they have made their nest in the space under some rolled-up carpet or linoleum, because that's the kind of rubbish I've been digging out. If I was stupid, I could lift off a piece and find I'd disturbed the nest.

So yes, sounds like I'm best off avoiding this stretch until late in the year. However, I may be stupid and find my 'itch' to keep working on it risks a more painful type of itch. I will wait till a wet evening, if I do decide to risk it.

Last edited by jimdixon; 06-26-2012 at 06:54 AM.
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:44 AM   #11
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Clearing builder's rubbish buried at foot of garden


Kind of urban archeology----Have you found any thing interesting?

Looking good---
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Old 06-26-2012, 07:01 AM   #12
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Clearing builder's rubbish buried at foot of garden


Keep up the good work jim, you'll find that you value your newly reclaimed space all the more because of the work you did for it.
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Old 06-26-2012, 07:17 AM   #13
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Clearing builder's rubbish buried at foot of garden


Thanks, guys. At the bottom are some better pictures of how it now looks.

I'm wondering what to do with the space. I could put a shed there. We already have a patio that catches the sun, so I don't think I'd want to turn it into decking.

But actually I was thinking to flatten the soil, put down woodchip, and put a couple of comfy garden chairs in one corner. I'd line the edges with shrubs and small trees, if I'm sure the soil is clean of rubbish and I can find the right types to be okay in the shade.

I like the idea of this space being like a childhood den, a secret corner at the end of the garden to read a book, or sit with a friend.

At the moment it is just a pile of rubbish filled with bees and midges, but it's good to have ambitions!

What would you do with a space like this?



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Old 06-26-2012, 07:26 AM   #14
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Clearing builder's rubbish buried at foot of garden


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Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
Kind of urban archeology----Have you found any thing interesting?

Looking good---
Thanks! Yes, I found the original Victorian number-plate for the house, which must have been ripped off when the property was turned into flats. Lots of houses on this street still have these original plates up. I was pleased to find it:


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