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08 May 2017

Arundel is a buzz this spring

Wooden butterfly in the Meadow Maze sported a hipster beard made of bees last weekend.

The bees are buzzing more than usual at Arundel Wetland Centre this spring. The wetland reserve has had two swarms of honeybees emerge from its swanky Bug Hotel in the insect ‘Meadow Maze’ in the last two weeks.

The first swarm spent a few days on a fence rail while the second swarm appeared as a ‘beard of bees’ on the large wooden butterfly figure in the meadow. The Worthing Beekeepers Association helped remove the first swarm as it was beside a footpath used by visitors to the wetland centre.

When honeybee colonies grow too large a swarm of bees will leave to start a new colony. The swarm will settle and send out scouts who look for a new nesting site. This usually happens midsummer but the mild winter at Arundel meant the colony here had a high survival rate and quickly grew too large for their Bug Hotel residence.

WWT volunteer and ex-beekeeper Peter Ashley said: “Honeybees usually swarm in July. If you find a honeybee swarm in your garden, don’t approach it or try to scare the bees away. They will eventually move off when their scouts return.”

Paul Stevens, Grounds Manager at Arundel Wetland Centre said: “We were surprised to see the second honeybee swarm as we weren’t seeing a lot of activity from the Bug Hotel after the first swarm left.  It has been a great opportunity for our visitors to see nature in action.”