A north-east heritage museum has turned to experts in a bid to put a stop to an invasion of bees.
Thousands of the insects have taken up residence at Culter Heritage Centre, a museum celebrating the history of Peterculter operated by the St Peter’s Heritage Trust.
This comes after the museum – which reopened for summer last month following a refurbishment of its entrance hall – was forced to close for a weekend as a result of the infestation.
The bees have now returned and taken up residence in the roof space of the museum, and heritage trust chairman Callum Stuart confirmed the organisation was discussing the best course of action with a specialist beekeeping group.
However, he said the museum would remain open – as long as the bees remain where they are and do not affect visitors.
Mr Stuart admitted the trust could take advantage of the tenants by creating a new line of products. He said: “The unexpected visitors to the museum turned out to be honey bees rather than wasps.
“They seem to have adopted the roof space as a temporary stop-off.
“We are monitoring the situation with the help of specialist beekeepers from Hill of Gellan apiary in Aboyne.
“With any luck, we may end up with a stock of ‘Heritage Honey’ for visitors to the tea room!”
Wildlife experts have said the museum can remain open as long as the public is made aware of the problem.
Kevin Newell, who runs Humane Wildlife Solutions, said: “As long as the bees are in the roof space and not affecting areas where members of the public and staff are going to be, it should not be an issue for the centre to stay open.
“It is a natural process for bees and wasps to nest, particularly if the queen is still there.
“As long as she is there, the bees are always very likely to return.
“They will not pose a risk as long as they are a safe distance away from the public areas.
“Quite a lot of people do have allergies to stings so my advice would be to notify the public there are bees there through signs and things like that.
“That is the best course of action the trust could take at this point.
“Other than that, as long as they are a safe distance away there should be no problem with them staying open.”
Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We would always recommend the use of a professional pest control company, which would offer the most humane solution to any infestation.”