Shoppers plagued by 5,000-strong swarm of bees

A 5,000-strong swarm of honeybees have caused a huge buzz in central London today by nesting on a shop front in the middle of central London.

Credit: PA

The bees covered a discount sign on the window of Topshop in Victoria Street, turning the fashion store display into a carpet of insects. The unusual nesting place was picked by the Queen bee, who landed there first and was quickly followed by her devoted colony.

Credit: PA

Scores of Londoners stopped to take photographs of the unusual sight, in the heart of busy central London at rush hour.

Credit: PA

Tony Mann, a project manager at nearby John Lewis and a trained bee keeper, dashed over to the shop to help lead efforts to smoke the European honeybee colony out:

We have either had a virgin Queen or an old Queen, she has left the nest and she has brought the warm and settled on the shop front.

We are smoking them into a box and encouraging them to stay there.

Credit: PA

The colony has been safely moved across the road to Westminster Cathedral, where it will be looked after by beekeepers on top of the Catholic church's roof. It is not known where the bees originally came from, but a string of shops in the local area do have their own hives.

Credit: PA

In Victoria there are over a dozen experienced beekeepers who have all been on an intense training course that focuses on the theory and practical training of urban beekeeping, successfully managing hives for nearly two years.

Local beekeepers were able to respond swiftly to manage the swarm, collect them in a mobile hive and move them to a suitable location. Our ambassadors were also on site to reassure members of the public that the bees were not distressed.

– David Beamont, Victoria Business Improvement District
Credit: PA