Barnes Coaches put out an appeal for help after discovering some very unusual passengers had taken over one of their vehicles and hitched a ride. 

A week ago a swarm of Cornish bees had settled on the air vent on top of one of the coaches and rode it for the 204 miles and three and a half hour journey back to Swindon, leaving the South West company in a sticky situation. 

But coming to the aid of Barnes Coaches, and the bees themselves, was Richard Williams, a Highworth Parish Councillor and amateur bee-keeper, who was able to rescue the swarm.

Swindon Advertiser: Rain-soaked Cornish bees on a Barnes coachRain-soaked Cornish bees on a Barnes coach

Now the 'Cornish Ladies', as Richard called them, are happily living in a brand new hive of their own in an out-of-the-way corner at Highworth Community Centre. 

"My daughter said to me I'd been tagged in a post so I had a look. I said I'd be able to get out in the morning. So the bees stayed on the couch overnight and it ripped it down with rain. 

"The next morning they were still on top of the bus but they were soaked and cold so I wasn't sure if they would make it. I had to 'scrape' them off the bus with a dustpan and I then put them in a warm room with a dish of honey and left them. I wasn't hopeful but when I went back I could hear buzzing."

Richard, a pest controller by trade, has been keeping bees for 10/12 years. He and a few other helpers manage hives at the community centre in Highworth.

"All the bees at the hives there have come to us through swarms. As well as the Barnes bees we have another three colonies that were removed from a house.

"The most preferable thing is that they stay where they are, but obviously that can't always happen, so we'll always try to save the colony and rehome them."

A swarm occurs when a new queen is added to a hive. The colony will choose between the existing queen or the new one, and will then split, with one group looking for a new home.

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"A swarm can be quite worrying for people, but the bees are so focussed on finding somewhere new to live that they're mostly harmless at this time."

Richard added that he's always happy to help if someone comes across a swarm.

"For me, it's the pleasure of seeing the bees, you look through the hive and you watch them doing what they do, so fascinating."

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