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‘The bees are taking back Manchester’ – Bees spotted swarming city centre again yesterday

"I know Manchester is known for bees, but this was a bit extreme."

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 11th July 2022

Shoppers were shocked to see thousands of bees swarming in Manchester city centre yet again this weekend.

And this time, it looks like they took a particular liking to traffic light.

As the scorching sun shone down, and temperatures soared up to 25°C over the weekend ahead of this week’s expected heatwave, plenty of summertime shoppers in Manchester city centre yesterday spotted swarms of thousands of bees sat on a traffic light on the corner of Cross Street and King Street.

Several people took to social media to share photos and video footage of the swarms in action yesterday, with one eyewitness declaring that “the bees are taking back Manchester”.

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“I know Manchester is known for bees, but this was a bit extreme,” another added.

People passing the swarm were seen covering their faces with their clothes, and ducking down in a bid to escape the buzzing bees.

While some people were understandably shocked at the sight of thousands of bees calmly covering a traffic light, others were not so fazed about it and remembered that it’s definitely not the first time parts of Greater Manchester have been brought to a halt by swarms of bees.

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Last summer, thousands of the buzzing insects took over the rear window of a parked-up and unattended BMW in the city centre.

They then moved on to engulf a poster for Manchester International Festival (MIF).

Read more: Why thousands of bees have been swarming cars and street signs in Manchester city centre

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Only last month, a woman dressed in full beekeeper attire was spotted by workers on their lunch break and captured on video scooping up bees with her bare hands in MediaCityUK in an effort to relocate a swarm.

Onlookers also eventually saw a beekeeper tend to the swarm on Cross Street yesterday too in a bid to move them to safety.

But why are so many bees swarming in Manchester city centre? 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.

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A beekeeper relocating a swarm on Cross Street / Credit: The Manc Group

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.

Read more: Beekeeper scoops up bees with BARE HANDS as swarm descends on Greater Manchester again

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

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 – Karis Viola Lambert (via Twitter)