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Swarm of bees creates buzz during London rush hour

A huge swarm of bees has hit part of London at rush hour, shocking onlookers who were forced to duck for cover.

People were stopped in their tracks and traffic slowed as the swarm filled the air on Greenwich Church Street, close to the famous Greenwich market, in south-east London on Tuesday evening.

Videos shared on social media show people stopping to watch the scene in front of them, while others ducked to avoid the insects.

Abigail Hering, who runs the nearby Beadoir jewellery shop, posted footage of the spectacle on Twitter, describing it as "absolutely crazy".

She told the Press Association she could initially hear an "underlying hum", adding: "It was just literally swarming, above the cars around the one way system."

The buzzing swarm was there for at least an hour and people's reactions ranged from laughs to screams, Ms Hering said.

She added: "When I left work, I went to walk towards my car, they were on the traffic lights. Millions of them on the traffic lights. And then at that point they'd come lower so they were actually buzzing around the people.

"And while I was videoing them I looked down and I could see literally the front of me covered in bees. They were on me. They were on everybody. They were in your hair, on your top."

Ms Hering said onlookers seemed shocked at the "hideous" sight, but she added: "It was quite exciting really."

She said a beekeeper arrived and joked: "It's quite ironic that my shop's called the Beadoir."

Ms Hering wrote on Twitter: "Greenwich Town is all a buzz! Bee swarm currently passing through horrifying people."

TFL Traffic News posted a photograph of bees resting on traffic lights, and wrote: "Greenwich #Beetime The pedestrian crossing on Greenwich one way system is partially obstructed by bees. Please approach with caution."

Beekeeper

People continued to look on as a beekeeper launched an operation to remove the swarm from the traffic lights.

Phil Clarkson and his wife Tracey stood guard as the bees gathered around a mobile hive perched on top of their vehicle.

A local hairdresser raised the alarm shortly after 5pm when she spotted the bees near the Old Royal Naval College.

Mr Clarkson, from Brockley Bees, tracked down the swarm to just a stone's throw from the Cutty Sark, and was at the scene until just before 8.30pm resolving the issue.

He said the swarm possibly came from Greenwich Park, but he could not be sure.

"Nobody was stung here today.

"People did get a bit nervous, and they were quite concerned understandably.

"But then when we talked to people and explained to them that actually a swarm is very benign, the likelihood of getting stung is very, very rare, and in most cases it's only when people swat them or squash them on their body that the bee will sting them.

"They're very calm and very docile when they're swarming," he said.

Asked about how common a swarm of this kind is, Mr Clarkson said: "At this time of the year it's quite common, but it is rare to get them to land on such things as traffic lights."

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