Britain to see spike in bee swarms thanks to hot temperatures this summer, keepers warn

The heatwave is causing huge swarms of bees across the UK, ITV News Reporter Amy Welch meets keepers to find out why

Britain is to see a spike in bee swarms this summer, keepers have warned.

Lampposts, a trolley, and even a wheel barrow have all been engulfed by buzzing hives this summer.

In Manchester a colony of thousands of bees took over a table in a coffee shop.

As temperatures rise, the number of swarms do too.

Gareth Trehearn from Manchester Honey Company. Credit: ITV News

Gareth Trehearn, from Manchester Honey Company, said: "We've been called to about 40 swarms, bees prefer to swarm on a warm day as if they get caught in the rain things get a little difficult for them.

"As you know we had a good period of hot sunny weather which is why i think the hives kept swarming over and over again."

Last month, the British Beekeeping Association said searches on its website on the "swarm" page were up 19% and the "find a beekeeper page" traffic was up by 33%.With a spike in swarming in early May some honey bee colonies will expand rapidly again, the association said.

They warned there could be a potential second round of late swarming in July if the extended period of warm weather continues.

If you see a swarm the advice is not to panic and call the professionals. 

When asked whether Britain would see another spike in bee swarms, keeper Chris MacLeod , who is president of the Manchester & District Beekeepers Association, said "yes, it would".

Chris MacLeod , who is president, Manchester & District Beekeepers Association. Credit: ITV News

She added: "You've got hot thundery weather and the bees are going mad.

"The Queens are laying - there's a lot of very large colonies."

Why do bees swarm?

Bees swarm when the old queen leaves her original hive with some of the bees.

As they scout for a new home, the remaining bees cluster somewhere creating a swarm.

Most swarms occur on warm sunny days from May to the end of July usually between 11am - 4pm, according to the British Beekeepers Association.

What to do if you get stung by a bee

One coffee shop in Manchester called in the professionals to remove this beehive. Credit: ITV News
  • If it's swollen, put an ice pack wrapped in a cloth or a clean cloth soaked in cold water on the bite or sting for at least 20 minutes

  • Keep the area raised

  • Take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen if the sting is painful

  • Use antihistamines to relieve any itching (but do not use antihistamine cream if you had caterpillar hairs on your skin)

  • Use a hydrocortisone cream to reduce itching and swelling

Call 999 if you:

  • Get a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin

  • Are wheezing

  • Get tightness in the chest or throat

  • Have trouble breathing or talking

  • Your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start swelling

You could be having a serious allergic reaction and may need immediate treatment in hospital.

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