A Whangarei cafe was buzzing when over 2000 bees swarmed on an outside table.

The arrival of the honey-producing insects forced the closure of Cafe Lit upstairs in the Strand Arcade, as the owners waited for the bees to be removed yesterday.

Jethro George said a staff member cleaning up on the outside deck of the cafe on Thursday afternoon noticed a large number of bees massing around a table.

When Mr George checked a few hours later a swarm had formed beneath a table in an outdoor section of the eatery.


The Whangarei District Council was contacted yesterday morning and a pest management team from Enviropro, dressed in beekeeping protective care, moved in with a cardboard box and a dustpan and brush to remove the bees about 9am.

Mr George, who had worked with bees previously, said a few of the bees would hang around most of the day and it was safer to close the cafe until they had disappeared.

"Just in case a customer does get stung and suffers an anaphylactic reaction, we don't want that. And with the kitchen operating we need ventilation and the windows open."

Enviropro's Phil Tunstall and Colin Jaques said they had been called to a number of bee swarms over the last few weeks and it was the time of year when it occurred. There were plenty of trees in blossom and one of the swarms had formed in a tree near Tikipunga sports grounds.

Mr Tunstall said yesterday it appeared a queen had broken away from a main hive and flown to the cafe with thousands of bees in tow.

If they liked the site they could set up and start producing honey.

However, they were not given the chance.

The pest management duo kitted themselves in protective gear and slowly moved in with a white cardboard box and a blue plastic dust pan and brush.

The bulk of the swarm were scooped into the box with one swipe and after 15 minutes the remaining bees started to find their way into the box in search of the queen bee.

Mr Tunstall said he had a spare hive and was going to rehome the bees. Sometimes he was able to give them to beekeepers.

"The best thing to do if you see a swarm is to steer clear and ring the council, especially if they are in a public place," he said.

"Sometimes they will move on if it's not the right environment but if they pose a danger they need to be removed."