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Swarm of bees in King's Lynn town centre was 'unusual' says beekeeper




A West Norfolk beekeeper, who was called to a swarm in Lynn's town centre yesterday afternoon, has emphasised it was a natural reproductive process with nobody being in any danger of harm.

Lee Chapman, a member of the West Norfolk and King's Lynn Beekeepers Association, said it is unusual to be called to a town centre swarm, but due to the coronavirus lockdown, the bees were nesting in a quiet spot.

The swarm was located in the planter outside Ring Associates at the junction of Norfolk Street and the High Street with Mr Chapman receiving a call to attend around 1pm.

The swarm of bees in Lynn town centre on Thursday afternoon. Picture: Katherine Ensor
The swarm of bees in Lynn town centre on Thursday afternoon. Picture: Katherine Ensor

He said the process involves a new queen bee taking over the colony and finding a new place to nest, in which a virgin queen is left behind.

"It is not a negative or aggressive thing, they are just looking for a new home," Mr Chapman said. "Swarms are not a threat or to be worried about.

"When they land like that they are at their most docile because they are full of honey. They are just looking for a new place to land.

Lee Chapman dealing with the bee swarm near Marks and Spencer in Lynn town centre. Picture: Katherine Ensor
Lee Chapman dealing with the bee swarm near Marks and Spencer in Lynn town centre. Picture: Katherine Ensor

"This is the first time I have been called to the town centre due to the fact that it was so quiet. They do not tend to land in a very busy area.

"If it was the normal town centre as we know it then they probably would have flown over or landed on a roof, but because it was so quiet they landed in the planter."

The whole process took around two hours. And Mr Chapman said the difficult part was getting the queen bee into his box.

The swarm of bees in Lynn town centre on Thursday afternoon. Picture: Katherine Ensor
The swarm of bees in Lynn town centre on Thursday afternoon. Picture: Katherine Ensor

"Once you do that, the rest move in, but it depends on the size of the swarm as to how long it takes," he continued. "They had pancaked themselves to the side of the planter so I had to allow them to get to the side of the box; once the queen was in, the rest followed."

Mr Chapman has now re-located the swarm to where he normally keeps his bees. Once they are healthy, he will release them back to a full colony to produce honey later in the year.

The public stopped to have a look at what was going on from a safe distance, which meant Mr Chapman was able to educate them about the process.

He said: "It was good that a member of the public knew enough to ring us up. The more calls we get, the more that people that are able to identify what it is rather than saying 'I do not know what that is', 'I'm not going to touch it' or thinking it's wasps.

"Some people were very anxious and keeping a wide berth but I said they were docile and members of the public then stood right next to the bees and they were not harmful at all."

The West Norfolk Beekeepers Association respond to calls in the area when a swarm is spotted. The association would normally have an information stand at the Sandringham Flower Show, but they are unable to do so this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For more information on the association, visit www.wnklba.co.uk/ which includes contact details, events and how to join.



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