You might spot a ‘black cloud’ of 20,000 bees in an East Lancashire village this week after they decided to leave a beekeeper’s hive in search of a new home.

Beekeeper Karen Buckley has issued a plea to the people of Sabden, urging them to keep and eye on the sky and let her know if they see a swarm of bees.

While they are unlikely to harm you she has encouraged people to keep their distance and observe the swarm from further afield.  

Lancashire Telegraph: Karen Buckley Karen Buckley

Karen, 53, said two thirds of her hive, which is located in Sabden, decided to swarm yesterday (June 21).

She said: “They were balling (when the bees form a ball with the queen in the middle) Tuesday lunchtime.

“We heard this loud noise and all you saw was a cloud of black moving across the sky and about 20,000 bees just up and left.”

Hoping to find them and return them to the hive, Karen posted the update on social media and said she “caused quite a stir” in the village.

Lancashire Telegraph: Karen's bees in her Sabden-based hiveKaren's bees in her Sabden-based hive

She said: “Everyone is looking for them.

“There have been several sightings of the swarm near Pendle Street East and other areas around Sabden.

“Those found further afield won’t be my bees as they are quite a common occurrence this time of year and they will be happening everywhere.

“I am fairly confident they aren’t in anyone’s garden. They will probably find a temporary home in a hedge or somewhere while scout bees go and hunt for a permanent home.”

Karen said this is a natural part of nature and bees will swarm to another hive if they have outgrown their current one.

“It’s nature and the bees know best,” she said. “As beekeepers we are just interfering with nature.

“We try to give them extra space and frames but they can’t be stopped if they want to look for a new home themselves.”

As it has been longer than 24 hours, Karen doesn't think she will find her bees – but she still has time to save the hive she currently has.

She said: “As it is coming up 24 hours now I feel like I might not get them back and they might have gone rural.

“If I don’t find them I will probably be okay as they have swarmed at the start of summer opposed to the end.

“You really don’t want a swarm to happen in the later months. Thankfully, mine have swarmed early so I have a good chance of building up my hive again ready for winter.”

If you think you have spotted Karen’s bees, or have spotted another hive further afield that needs collecting, contact her at: 07805049144