Swarms expected in July

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Honeybees usually swarm in July but Arundel Wetland Centre had two clusters appear early from its bug hotel in the meadow maze.

The first swarm spent a few days on a fence rail, while the second swarm appeared as a beard of bees on the large wooden butterfly figure in the meadow.

One swarm appeared as a beard of bees on the large wooden butterfly

One swarm appeared as a beard of bees on the large wooden butterfly

Worthing Beekeepers Association helped remove the first swarm, as it was beside a footpath used by visitors.

Volunteer Peter Ashley, an ex-beekeeper, said: "Honeybees usually swarm in July. If you find a honeybee swarm in your garden, don’t approach it or try to scare the bees away. They will eventually move off when their scouts return.”

When honeybee colonies grow too large, a swarm of bees will leave to start a new colony. The swarm will settle and send out scouts to look for a new nesting site. This usually happens midsummer but the mild winter at Arundel meant the colony there had a high survival rate and quickly grew too large for the bug hotel.

Paul Stevens, grounds manager, said: “We were surprised to see the second honeybee swarm as we weren’t seeing a lot of activity from the bug hotel after the first swarm left. It has been a great opportunity for our visitors to see nature in action.”

WWT Arundel Wetland Centre, in Mill Road, Arundel, is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm, seven days a week.