SWARMING honey bees caused a buzz at Beckett’s Farm in Wythall when around 30,000 landed on a tree in the car park, writes Adam Endsor.
‘Hero’ bee catcher John Gale caught the creatures, who were protecting an ousted queen, using a straw beehive and a net.
Holly Beckett, the farm’s events manager, said: “It’s pretty amazing to watch John at work”, and described the swarming insects as “fascinating”, although curiosity led to her getting stung a couple of times.
John, Birmingham’s swarm coordinator for the British Beekeepers Association, typically deals with two swarms a day at this time of year, something he attributes to a “good spring.”
Only honey bees swarm and John advises those who encounter a swarm to “leave it alone” and contact their local swarm collector.
Although swarms may be loud and seem frightening, the bees are mostly docile and there is “no reason to be terrified.”
Honey bees are, according to John, “worth millions and millions” of pounds as, along with bumblebees, they are the principle pollinators of fruit, flowers and crops in the country.
Beckett’s Farm has planted eight miles of wildflowers to support bees, including sunflowers, poppies and borage.
Bees captured by BBKA catchers are given to bee keepers.
To find your local BBKA swarm collector, enter your postcode at www.bbka.org.uk/help/find_a_swarm_coordinator.php or call the helpline on 07896 751 205.