Bees spotted swarming on lamppost outside popular Manchester city centre pub

It's that time of year again.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 23rd May 2023

Punters basking in the sunshine outside a popular Manchester city centre pub yesterday spotted bees swarming and settling on a lamppost.

It’s no secret that bee swarms are a common sight across Greater Manchester, with several stories of city centre shoppers being shocked to see the buzzing insects collectively gathering and covering street signs, traffic lights, cars, and more, grabbing headlines over the past couple of years – and it seems 2023 is no different.

This time, it looks like they took a particular liking to a lamppost outside a busy beer garden.

As temperatures soared and the sun shone down on the city, shoppers walking passed The Mitre Hotel spotted thousands of bees congregating and covering a lamppost.

Harry Slater (@harryjslater85) was just one city centre shopper who happened to notice the bee swarm as he passed The Mitre yesterday, and made sure to grab a quick video and send it to The Manc on Instagram.


A walk past The Mitre this morning, however, has confirmed that the bees are no longer there, although it’s unsure whether they vacated themselves or if specialist help from a beekeeper was required to remove them from the lamppost.

As we all know, Manchester and bees go hand in hand – and considering the swarm was spotted yesterday on 22 May just steps way from the AO Arena, it could have been seen as a rather fitting and touching tribute to the 22 people who tragically lost their lives, and the thousands more injured and impacted, on the sixth anniversary of the Manchester Arena Attack.


The worker bee has not only been an emblem for our city for over 150 years now, but after the Manchester Arena attack back on 22 May 2017, bees have gone on to become an even more prevalent symbol, and one that’s synonymous with remembrance and resilience.

The Mitre Hotel in Manchester city centre / Credit: The Mitre (via Facebook)

You may also remember that Manchester was aptly named the best city in the UK for bees last year.

The city claimed the crown thanks to a study analysing UK cities based on a number of metrics – including pollution, green space, the number of flower gardens, allotment sites, individual allotment plots, and the number of parks.


But why have there been so many bees swarming in Manchester city centre in recent years? And what does it mean?

Well, according to the British Beekeepers Association, a honeybee colony may swarm for a number of reasons but can often be seen swarming on warm and sunny days between May and July, and usually after a spell of poor weather.

It’s a completely natural process, and they will most likely swarm to reproduce after the old queen leaves a colony with some of the other bees.

Once the queen has left, scout bees will then head off in search of suitable places to construct the swarm’s home, and the successful scouts will eventually report back on the location of suitable nesting sites to the other bees – but in the meantime, the other bees will leave the hive and find a spot to wait until the scout decides on the new home for the colony.

The latter is most likely to answer for the swarm we saw yesterday.


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With the warm weather set to continue, it remains to be seen whether this will be the last swarm we’ll see this week, but the city will no doubt be ready and waiting if it happens again.

Featured Image – Harry Slater (via Instagram – @harryjslater85)