15,000 bees attach hive to Scottish Parliament

VISITORS to the Scottish Parliament were faced with a swarm of more than 15,000 bees this morning as a hive relocated to a roof at the front of the building.

A swarm of bees has settled on part of the Scottish Parliament structure. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
A swarm of bees has settled on part of the Scottish Parliament structure. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

Staff rushed to protect tourists after a black swarm descended on the parliament and clustered around an overhang on the curved roof.

However, bee experts do not believe that the insects came from the new hives installed in the garden of the parliament - but are more likely to have travelled from other hives within a two and a half mile radius.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Parliament officials fenced off the area directly under the bee colony in an attempt to protect tourists and passers by and called in professional bee keepers to remove the swarm.

Two weeks ago, the Scottish Parliament introduced two new bee hives to the parliament garden in a nod to nationwide conservation efforts to protect the species. The honey produced by the bees is to be sold in the parliament shop - and used by MSPs and parliament staff in the canteen.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Parliament said: “Today’s visitors were not our bees. Our bees are very happy and contented in their own hives and blissfully unaware of today’s excitement.”

Beekepeer Paul Holmes, from Kelvin Valley Honey, said the parliament’s hive had numbered only 6,000 bees when it was installed ten days ago - whereas today’s cluster totalled more than 15,000 insects.

“I do not believe they are the Parliament bees,” he said. “There were too many to have come from the Parliament hives. It is likely that they have come from another hive where the frames have not been changed quickly enough by the beekeeper and the Queen bee does not have space to lay her eggs. She will have sent out scout bees to find another home and they will have chosen this site as it is cool, out of the sun and sticks out.”

The bees will be rehomed in Kelvin Valley Honey’s bee colony in Kilsyth.