CHILDREN were sent home early after a swarm of up to 15,000 bees invaded their school.
Staff and students at Crofton School in Stubbington were evacuated at lunchtime today after the bees settled in a tree in the middle of the grounds.
Help was called in from the British Beekeepers’ Association to move the swarm.
It is believed there were between 10,000 and 15,000 bees in the swarm.
Headteacher Ciaran O’Dowda said: ‘I believe from talking to the experts they are swarming because the queen is looking for a home.
‘All the time they were swarming there was a threat to the school so the only option was to send the pupils home.’
Mr O’Dowda admitted it was an unusual situation.
‘It’s never happened at the school before and there isn’t necessarily a manual for this,’ he said.
‘The swarm looked threatening. It was quite obvious.
‘When I walked towards them they were trying to land on me so it was a very easy decision to make.
‘The students and the staff reacted brilliantly. We evacuated the site within minutes.
‘I understand from the experts that it’s been more of a phenomenon this year than in previous years.
‘I was shocked because we have never seen anything like this before.’
No staff or pupils were harmed by the bees.
There were no exams taking place at the school this afternoon.
It comes after a car in Southsea was covered by a swarm of bees last week.
Rita Perry is the membership secretary for the Portsmouth Beekeepers’ Association.
She said the increase in swarming could be down to the climate. ‘There are a lot more this year,’ she said.
‘It’s because there was a wet and mild winter so a lot came through and we didn’t have the losses we normally have. As soon as the weather got hot, they all got ready. It’s a good year for swarming.’