A rather unusual visitor attended one of the Dorset Arts Week exhibitions.

Beekeepers were called after a swarm of more than 20,000 honey bees decided to take up residence on a tree outside an arts studio in Melplash.

The bees were spotted on Saturday outside Walnut Farm in Melplash (venue 298 during Dorset Art Weeks), where artists Gerry Dudgeon and Sonia Burton were in residence.

Gerry Dudgeon, who is showcasing his contemporary painting, said: "It was a lovely sunny day as I took a lunchtime stroll outside my painting studio during Dorset Art Weeks, when there was a lull in visitor attendance.

"I gradually became aware of a faint humming noise, which I put down to traffic noise, although normally I can't hear this from my studio.

"Looking across at the farm track which runs past my studio, I saw what looked like thousands of flies or midges circling in an oval formation and gradually making their way towards me.

"I became worried and ready to close my double doors in case they decided to come in, when I realised it was a swarm of honey bees, which are now designated as an endangered species."

The bees eventually attached themselves to a young hornbeam tree outside the studio, after which a visitor advised Gerry to call the West Dorset Beekeepers Association, who arranged to come out to take the bees away.

Upon arrival and using Gerry's pair of garden shears, the beekeepers severed the branch the bees were in, and lowered the swarm into a basket, and then covered it with a sheet.

Carole Brown, secretary for the West Dorset Beekeepers' Association, said: "If you are not sure what type of bee it is, make sure to look it up beforehand or take a picture to send to us, that way we can make sure it is a honeybee and not a bumblebee.

"If anyone has any queries or wishes to report a swarm, they should visit our swarms page at westdorsetbees.org.uk or through The British Beekeepers Association at bbka.org.uk.

"Also make sure to be on the lookout for the Asian Hornet."

The captured swarm of bees are now at a hive in Bothenhampton.

Gerry said: "They thanked me immensely for the swarm which they could introduce into a hive, and one of my visitors informed me that bees bring good luck.

"Shortly afterwards I sold a painting and Sonia Barton, who is sharing the exhibition with me, also sold a painting."

Dorset Art Weeks will run across the county until Sunday, June 10.

To find out more about Gerry and Sonia's exhibition, visit dorsetartweeks.co.uk