A shopping district was buzzing not just with shoppers, but also bees last Wednesday in Leeds.

Thousands of bees in two swarms with a distance of about 200 yards apart invaded two areas of Leeds - outside Marks and Spencer on Briggate and near Leeds Corn Exchange on Duncan Street.

Some shoppers and bystanders ran away while some remained to watch the bees.

Beekeepers and experts immediately assisted in getting the bees relocated.

According to the City Council of Leeds, they received reports Wednesday morning, directing them to a swarm of bees that settled on a hanging basket on Briggate. The City Council sent out a beekeeper and placed a cordon around the invaded area. The bees were then safely removed and relocated.

Experts assured it is normal to see some few colonies swarming between April and July every year in Britain. No one was reported to have been stung.

Gill Maclean from the British Beekeepers Association refers to the phenomenon as "nature's way of reproducing or increasing the number of colonies." She further explains by saying that during this time of the year, colonies start to become too big. It produces new queens, and when the space becomes too small, the old queen, along with half of the bees in the colony, leaves to look for a new place to settle in. Normally in the countryside, the bees would temporarily settle on a tree branch - thus, the hanging basket in the city.

While the queen bee selects a temporary home, scout bees are sent out to look for a new, permanent place to settle in. The bees could stay from hours to days until the scouts return to take them to their new home.

Maclean also mentions the "particularly favorable weather" on Wednesday, which might have allowed two colonies in one apiary to swarm at the same time.

Experts also emphasize that the swarm is a colony of honey bees and not bumblebees. No one was harmed while the bees were peacefully waiting for their new home, and while they were being taken out and relocated. At this normal time of the year, bees do not attack unless provoked.

Photo: Avydas Simbells | Flickr

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