IT was an invasion that caused quite a buzz.

Expert beekeepers were called into Glasgow city centre yesterday when a swarm of honeybees descended on a busy street, forcing passers-by to give them a wide berth.

The swarm of the stinging insects, said to be in the thousands, clustered on a wall at the corner of Gordon Street and West Nile Street at the heart of the busy shopping district.

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A quick-thinking onlooker called the Glasgow Beekeepers Association whose webmaster Kathleen Friend came with a hive to scoop up the black-and-yellow bugs.

She said: "Most people were just curious but there were a few who got round the corner and were a bit scared when they saw the wall covered with bees.

"At this time of year they would have been looking for a home so they probably landed to send out scouts to go to look for one.

"Then I turned up with a hive and they thought 'great!'. So I've taken them to my apiary and I'll keep them here."

She added that the bees fill up on honey before they swarm so are not aggressive and unlikely to sting anyone who leaves them alone.

Honeybees swarm when the old queen begins to fail and creates a new matriarch to take her place. Once her rival is established, the former monarch bee takes half the hive and goes in search of a new territory.

Robert Gordon, secretary of the Eastwood Beekeepers Association, said that it was possible the swarm had come from a hive on a rooftop in Glasgow City centre as some keepers were known to keep their bees there.

He said: "At this time of year we often get swarms. They also appear when there is thundery or close, warm weather like we are having now. Only honey bees gather in numbers as big as this. I get a few calls each day about bee swarms, but I know right away that it's honeybees if there's more than 20 at one time."