Beekeepers were called to collect a large swarm of bees after they made an unexpected appearance in Burnham-On-Sea town centre during the town’s Food Festival on Saturday (May 23rd).

Thousands of the bees gathered on a rig of builder’s scaffolding in Victoria Street, leading to an area being cordoned off as a precaution to keep festival-goers at a safe distance.

A crowd gathered to watch local beekeeper Richard Cherry and Peter Burridge-Clayton, a beekeeping enthusiast and councillor, pull on their protective clothes to reach the swarm.

“I estimate there were around 10,000 bees in the swarm, but we managed to safely collect them away to a hive in Burnham,” Richard told

“Swarms like this are quite common at this time of the year – it’s the end of the ‘Spring flow’, so fewer flowers are in bloom and the bees go searching for them.”

Peter added: “I am a member of the British Beekeepers Association and also the Somerton & Frome Beekeepers Association, and have attended a theory course over the winter to refresh my knowledge.”

“I used to keep when I was younger with my uncle when we supplied Chatsworth House with honey. Unfortunately, he passed away a few days ago but I hope to keep the family interest going. The bees have settled in well and hopefully will now find their new home comfortable.”

Sarah Milner Simonds said: “Our stewards were alerted to the swarming of the bees by traders and members of the public. We assessed the situation, cordoned off the area, placed an experienced steward on duty and sought professional advice from an apiarist who was trading at the show.”

“We contacted Somerset Bee Keepers who attended to collect the swarm. We are very grateful to the member of the public, who is also a bee keeper, who stayed by the cordon to offer advice to visitors. It wasn’t on our pre-event risk assessment, but our dynamic risk management process worked very well and we are happy to report that there was no panic, no stings and two happy bee keepers at the end of the day. We hope that Festival Honey will make an appearance at a subsequent show!”

Sarah Milner Simonds thanked the bee experts Richard Cherry and Peter Burridge-Clayton for removing the swarm