GARDENERS, walkers and other lovers of the great outdoors are being asked to keep their eyes pealed for swarms of bees.
Members of Huddersfield and District Bee Keeping Association (HDBKA) want the public to help them collect data on honey bees, which are on the decline in the UK.
May is peak swarm season, so it’s the best time for bee-spotting.
Yvonne Kilvington, HDBKA Secretary, told people what to look out for: “Honey bees will swarm in a big cluster the size of a rugby ball or football.
“Wasps and bumble bees don’t cluster in such a way.
“Nine out of ten calls we had last time we had a swarm watch turned out to be bumble bees, which are the big round fat ones with stripes.
“We are interested in honey bees – these are brown and hairy.”
Swarm Watch is a national scheme to monitor numbers of honey bees in Britain.
The world honey bee population is under threat. In the USA, the bee population has fallen by nearly 90 per cent in the last 50 years.
In China some crops are now pollinated by hand using feather brushes as there are no longer enough bees to do the job. The UK is not in this situation but our bee population is also in decline.
Huddersfield has recently seen an upturn in numbers of people of all ages wanting to take up beekeeping as a hobby.