BEES across East Lancashire are in danger of ‘starving to death’ after waking up ‘too early’ after winter.

They have been spotted flying around the region despite not being expected to be seen until the end of March or early April.

Because of the lack of food available in the early part of the year and the potential for sudden cold snaps, experts are worried that bee numbers could be affected.

Bees fall into a semi-dormant’ state ahead of winter in order to survive during the colder months but have been woken up early this year after the recent warm weather.

Phil Ainsworth, from the Blackburn and East Lancashire Beekeep-er’s Association, said: “This is certainly a worrying time because they have woken up so early. We normally expect to see them flying around in late March and early April.

“The problem is that they could starve to death because there is no food for them as the pollen hasn’t been released by flowers yet.

“We have to keep our fingers crossed that there are no harsh frosts or any snow soon because they will really struggle to keep warm.

“There’s not a lot that people can do to help them but we want to encourage the bees to stay in their hives as much as possible until it’s warm enough.

“Nationally their numbers have been falling over recent years and because they have woken up so early we will be expecting another fall this year.

“We have noticed the activity in the hives that we monitor as a group and we are trying to feed them a sugar and water solution artificially.”

Tony Martin, who is a beekeeper in Burnley, said: “There is always a danger for bumble bees but there will not be a problem if the weather continues to be as good as it has been recently.”