When you run a flower stall you might expect the odd insect.

But when a 1,500-strong swarm of bees homed in on Uxbridge Station Flowers, it was time to call for help.

“The queen bee had obviously settled in on one of our ornamental trees and the rest of the swarm followed her,” said John Cradduck, of the family-run stall in Uxbridge High Street.

His dad, Glyn, had been working in a storage area around the corner in Bakers Yard when he saw the swarm descend, where it stayed briefly before making a bee-line for the stall.

There they settled on an ornamental woven willow tree - and were heavy enough to bring it crashing to the ground.

“They weren’t aggressive, stinging or anything said John, “and you can see how close you could get. We had lots of people taking pictures.”

But swarms of bees and swarms of shoppers do not mix: enter Moira Spiers of Harrow Beekeepers’ Association.

The swarm of bees that settled in at Uxbridge Station Flowers. There were so many, their weight brought an ornamental tree crashing to the ground.
 

The 65-year-old from Ruislip has 10 years keeping under her belt, and was happy to answer the Cradducks’ call.

“I even got to park in the taxi rank next to the stall,” said Moira. “The traffic warden put a sign on my car saying: ‘Beekeeper at work.’

On the hottest day of the year so far, a spray of water kept the swarm cool and calm.

“I thought that it would help them calm down. When they are hot they can be a little bit agitated,” she said.

“But it was a nice swarm, and when they are in a swarm they tend to be calmer anyway.”

A blast of smoke and the bes were safely in a ‘skep’, the whicker basket used to carry them, that acts as a temporary hive.

Moira was on site for several hours and delighted to field numerous questions abut her hobby.

“It was lovely because so many people asked about bee keeping, and some decided there and then to give it a try,” she said.

John and Glyn were delighted too, and presented her with a bouquet by way of thanks - yellow and black, flowers, of course – and free of bees.

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