Residents dodge busy bees in Muswell Hill
A SWARM of upwardly mobile bees are enjoying their new homes in Hampstead after terrifying residents by trying to settle on a garden wall in Muswell Hill.
The group of thousands of bees descended on Donovan Avenue on Friday afternoon, causing panic by flying in and out of the windows and down the chimney of one of the homes and stinging people in the street.
They then settled on the front garden wall in an almost-perfect oval shape, when neighbour Yvonne Chakraborty began capturing the incident on camera.
“When they were really swarming it was really scary and someone up the road got stung,” she said.
“We called the council and they were incredibly unhelpful and said if someone came out the home-owners would have to pay and it would take 48 hours and they were closing anyway – we were thinking it was really dangerous.
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“Fortunately, one of the local kids was alerting people who were walking down the road and one of the ladies he spoke to was a bee keeper who phoned up another beekeeper and his friends.
“It was really freaky and totally bizarre – I had two children over to play with my children who are both very allergic to lots of foods so I had an epi pen at the ready.”
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Hampstead beekeeper and member of the North London Beekeeper’s Association Farokh Khorooshi, who came to the rescue along with some of his fellow enthusiasts, said the bees had left the hive of a fellow group member after being ousted by the new queen, causing the old queen and her followers to go in search of a new home.
Though Mr Khorooshi said this could be anywhere, they usually opt for trees, gutters and attics. Regardless, he said the swarm was not to be feared, but celebrated.
“This time of year the bees are swarming, which is their natural way of reproducing,” he said.
“It’s quite pleasant – it’s a wonderful thing, it’s one of nature’s most wonderful spectacles. It’s a charming thing to look at and it’s relatively harmless for a bee keeper. They are looking for a home and we give them one, so it’s a positive thing.”
The group encouraged some of the bees to move into a cardboard box – once the queen was inside, the rest of the swarm followed suit and were happily packed up and driven to the new home on Branch Hill allotments.
Mr Khorooshi said there was an important message behind the incident and urged anyone who sees a swarm to contact their local authority, who will then call on the volunteers to relocate the insects, as their survival is so key to our everyday lives.
“Bees are of significant importance for human beings – 30 per cent of every agricultural product we put in our mouths is a result of their work and pollination,” he said “British agriculture depends on them.”