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King's Lynn beekeeper's hopes to raise awareness after swarm of bees killed




A Lynn beekeeper is hoping to raise awareness of what to do if you come across a swarm after hundreds of bees were killed last week.

Martin Gardner, of Fairstead, said he was called to Turbus Road in North Lynn on Tuesday evening to reports of the bees, but he found that most of them had been killed with hot water and bleach.

He said: “When I went down there, I just saw all the bees lying on the floor. They were literally everywhere, on the road, on the path – hundreds of them lying there.

Bee swarm in North Lynn. Picture: SUBMITTED. (36055717)
Bee swarm in North Lynn. Picture: SUBMITTED. (36055717)

“Even the next day, they were still moving. That’s a long time for them to be suffering for.”

Mr Gardner said he spoke to a local resident, who said he had used hot water and bleach to destroy them as they were in his garden and he was allergic to them.

The beekeeper then got the remaining surviving bees into a hive, and when he returned the next day to pick them up, he swept up the ones which had died.

Bee swarm in North Lynn. Picture: SUBMITTED. (36055746)
Bee swarm in North Lynn. Picture: SUBMITTED. (36055746)

“I did that simply because I was worried about other animals eating them and becoming poisoned,” he said.

“I’m very sad that someone did this – they destroyed the queen bee as well.”

Mr Gardner said he has contacted authorities about this incident, but bees are not a protected species.

Bee swarm in North Lynn. Picture: SUBMITTED. (36055732)
Bee swarm in North Lynn. Picture: SUBMITTED. (36055732)

“It’s a great shame considering how important they are,” he added.

Mr Gardner will now look after the bees that survived – which he believes to be around a quarter of the 10,000 or so bees that were in the swarm.

But he says he will need to get a new queen for the colony so they can continue with their lives.

“In three or four weeks, they would die out without a queen, because they won’t be able to reproduce,” he said.

And he also wants to make people aware of what to do if they come across a swarm.

“There are quite a few beekeepers happy to take a swarm, but unfortunately people are not clued up on it,” Mr Gardner said.

“They don’t need to be destroyed, we are more than happy to come along and sort it out.”

He said he does not believe there to be a humane way for people to destroy bees.

“All I want is to put an awareness out there that you don’t have to take these actions when there are alternatives,” Mr Gardner added.

“I find it so sad, thousands of bees suffered a painful death.

“These creatures have as much right to a life as any others, these bees are there to help us. Without them, there would be no humans.”

Anyone who finds something like this is advised to contact a local beekeeper, and, if allergic or worried, to stay indoors.

Another concerned beekeeper, who is a member of the West Norfolk and King's Lynn Beekeepers' Association (WNKLBA), has since told the Lynn News that members will collect bees and give them a new home for the price of fuel to get to them.

He said: "We have many members all over Norfolk and all are willing and trained to help those with honey bee nests or swarms."

More details about WNKLBA can be found at www.wnklba.co.uk.



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