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Friday, 30 June, 2000, 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK
Bee swarm hits town
Bee hives
Experts say the swarm was looking for a home
Shoppers were forced to run for cover as a swarm of bees descended on a west Wales town centre.

The cloud of more than 20,000 bees brought Llanelli to a standstill as shoppers scurried into doorways.



I...saw this huge cloud of bees hovering about 3ft from the ground and towering about 12ft in the air

Shop manager Mark Bowler
Shop staff called in pest control officers after the swarm came to rest in a nearby public garden.

Offices and shops throughout the town's busy main centre were forced to shut for up to an hour as panic spread.

Mark Bowler, who runs a menswear fashion chain in the town, said: "Someone came into my shop at about 3pm and said, whatever you do, don't go outside.

"I went to the main door and saw this huge cloud of bees hovering about 3ft from the ground and towering about 12ft in the air - it was incredible."

Workmen refurbishing a nearby church were among those who were forced to run for cover as the bees made their way through the town.

Colonies

A Carmarthenshire County Council spokeswoman said: "Our officers acted to control the situation by calming the swarm down and then guiding it slowly out of town.

"A swarm of 20,000 bees is quite small by most standards and situations like this one are to be expected during hot weather," she added.

Maureen Macleod, a member of Carmarthenshire Bee Keepers Association, said swarms are flying off all the time to start new colonies at this time of year.

"They can travel 20 miles. They follow the queen bee then gather somewhere and form a ball.

"The outermost bees act like scouts and fly around looking for somewhere suitable to live," she said.

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