A beekeeper has told of his joy after collecting a swarm the size of five footballs.
Dennis Chow, 77, was armed with just a water spray, dustpan and brush when he scooped the hive into his specially-made box.
Mr Chow, of Three Bridges, removed the 40,000-strong colony on steps off a pavement near a shopping parade in Gossops Drive.
He said it was four to five times the size of a football and added: “I’m so happy because it was so easy job.
“All it took was ten minutes - the best time I ever took, usually I have to climb up a tree.
“It was amazing. Inside from the bottom of the box was three inches thick of bees!”
The colony was 15-20 times bigger than a normal hive and the biggest he had caught in his 25 years of beekeeping.
But he said he didn’t need protective gear to catch the ‘prime swarm’.
He said: “In general people are very scared bees will sting people - that’s not the case.
“The spray is what keeps them calm and they don’t fly.”
The bees were packed so thickly his brush couldn’t prise them from a wall.
Mr Chow, who is a member of Central Sussex Beekeepers’ Association, laid his box under them and eased them to the floor.
Once down he simply scooped them into dustpan and dropped into the box.
He gathered a smaller section of the hive which remained on the steps where its Queen’s scent had been and now hopes they will produce up to 40llbs of honey in his apiary in Handcross by the end of August.
Mr Chow started collecting honey to cure his wife’s hayfever - and says it has.
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