POLICE were part of an unusual sting operation in Fareham at the weekend - as more than 10,000 bees took over part of the town centre.
A startled traffic warden discovered the massive swarm of honey bees in a passage leading to the multi-storey car park from West Street on Sunday at 1pm.
Police cordoned off the area while bee keepers from the Fareham and District Beekeepers Association dealt with the swarm.
Jamie Leeper, a former Royal Navy officer and bee keeper from the association, said the swarm was ‘quite large’ compared to the 20 others he has tackled in the Portsmouth area this year.
He said: ‘We suspect it was an established colony near by that sent out a swarm.
‘We have long believed there is a colony in the area, most likely in the cavity of a building.’
Jamie said the recent mild winter and warm summer had produced conditions for bees, meaning the colony will ‘more than likely’ produce more swarms.
He said: ‘In the summer months, bees will quickly multiply, and will swarm if their colony runs out of space or if they reject a new queen.
‘They will store as much food as possible and fly away.
‘’Honey bees are not particularly dangerous, and bee swarms are full of food, so they are pretty docile.’
The bees have been taken to the apiary in Fontley owned by children’s charity Second Chance, which gives more than 150 children struggling with their education the opportunity to learn skills through nature-based activities like angling and beekeeping.
Organisations across the UK have been working to reverse the trend of declining bee numbers.
A spokeswoman for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Association said: ‘It is estimated that bees provide us with every third mouthful of food we eat, but sadly their numbers are declining, so it is important we do what we can to help protect them.’
Fareham Borough Council has a pest control department and deals with wasps, rats and mice but not bees as they are protected and not considered to be a pest.