A swarm of bees which tried to make a busy Hastings intersection their home yesterday caused a disruption before being evicted by a local beekeeper.

Hastings motorists were seen frantically rolling up their windows yesterday afternoon, as a swarm of about 10,000 bees spent about an hour on the intersection of Maraekakaho Rd and Southampton St West.

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Farmlands Hastings merchandise facilitator Rachael Campbell said she saw the swarm outside her workplace.

"They were encompassing the entire intersection. With all the traffic there was no calming them, they had nowhere to settle. It was really dense, there were thousands of them.

No pedestrians were harmed by the bees but "a lady on a mobility scooter at the lights was looking frustrated".

Manuka Apiaries beekeeper Gus Janson captured the bees using a wooden box with wax frames in it, after he was called by the Hastings District Council.

"Once the queen was in there they all cruised in. I picked them up and slapped them on the back of the ute."

The bees would be rehoused on a Hastings farm, where they would collect manuka honey.

New Zealand Honey Packers Association secretary Mary-Anne Thomason said bee swarms were a seasonal phenomena which could be expected in spring and summer.

After winter, beehives have a population of about 15,000 but multiply, reaching up to 100,000 bees by late December.


"They need room for colony expansion - it's how they propagate."

The "old queen" leaves with half the bees in search of greener pastures, while a "new queen" takes her place.

Miss Thomason said bee swarms could be frightening but weren't dangerous, although people shouldn't approach them.

"Before the bees leave they gorge themselves on honey, so they can make the wax for a new hive. Their stomachs are so full, they're not really interested in stinging anybody," she said.

At this time of year thousands of bee colonies are placed in apple orchards, as bees are required for pollination.

Miss Thomason cautioned orchardists to check for bees before applying thinning sprays - which are toxic to bees - to their apples, as apple trees were late to flower this year.