Entries in Bees (4)


Thousands of Bees Delay Pittsburgh Flight

Stephen Repasky(PITTSBURGH) -- A Delta flight headed from Pittsburgh to New York was delayed Wednesday by thousands of bees on its wing.

A professional beekeeper was called in to remove the bees, ABC affiliate WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh reported. Master beekeeper Stephen Repasky said he was called when the bee swarm formed on the plane’s wing as it refueled. He was called to remove the bees because they’re a protected species that cannot legally be killed.

Delayed for about 20 minutes, fascinated passengers clicked cellphone pictures of Repasky at work, a Pittsburgh International Airport spokeswoman said.

Repasky said it was the fourth time he has been called to the airport this year, so there’s likely a honeybee colony nearby.

“When a colony of honeybees swarm, it’s nature’s way of dividing on a large scale,” Repasky said. “So, the old queen takes off with half the colony and they go looking for a new place to set up residence.”

Two swarms were removed in May and one in June, both from equipment but not planes, the airport spokeswoman said.

There have been two to three times as many bee rescues this year than is typical, Repasky said. He blamed the increase on the weather.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


California Man Finds 50,000 Bees Inside Home

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A photojournalist from California discovered an estimated 50,000 bees living in the walls of his Los Angeles home last Saturday -- and he wasn’t even scared.

Spending little time at home because of work, Larry Chen, 27, initially didn’t notice the bees.  According to the beekeeper he hired, the hive was an estimated six to eight months old.

A month ago, Chen began noticing bees buzzing in and out of his window, and he decided to investigate.  According to Chen, the bees only came out during a 30-minute window in the day.

“I’m not really terrified of the bees… I just remained calm, and I figured they wouldn’t bother me too much… I got stung once, but I was more curious about how big the hive actually was.  I figured it was just a small clump of 1,000 or so,” Chen said.

After his investigation, he spent a month on the road, traveling for work.  When he returned, Chen found time to call a professional to assess the situation.  He explained that he recently saw a documentary about the endangerment of bees, so he wanted to save -- not exterminate -- them.

He found a man on Craigslist, who goes by the name Mike Bee, who said he would safely remove the bees.  He is a member of the rescue organization Backwards Beekeepers, a group that works with in order to educate the public about bees.

It took Mike Bee and his wife five hours to remove the bees from the wall.  Mike Bee was stung four times.

The bees entered through a ventilation pipe that airs out the attic and an area near a window, according to Mike Bee.  Although the pipes were lined with a wire mesh, the squares were big enough for bees to fit through.  Since the area was a dark, protective shelter and featured a convenient entry point, the space was very accommodating to a beehive.

First, the beekeeper located the bees and cut the drywall.  Then he burned pine needles, creating a smoke that would calm the bees.  Afterwards, he began vacuuming the bees in a custom-made device, so that the comb could be visible.  He removed the queen and cut out the comb, placing it in a box with the bees.

After removing the bees, he scraped off any remnants of wax from the honeycombs and cleaned the area of the hive.  He then stapled screening mesh over the ventilated pipes in order to deter a new swarm from finding the same spot.

The bees filled two boxes that fit 20,000 bees each, but there were still many strays.  The beekeeper explained that the bees would be returned to the city after he completes a process called an orientation flight.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Warm Weather Brings Swarm of Bees Early

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- An unusually high number of bees have been swarming neighborhoods near San Francisco, and experts say the abnormal weather is to blame.

“They’re feeling the joy of spring like we all do,” Mike Stephanos, vice president of community education for the Mt. Diablo Beekeepers Association, told ABC News. “That’s just their natural instinct. They can’t fly when it’s raining, and they don’t like flying when it’s really, really cold.”

Spring came early this year in Concord, like much of the United States, causing the bees to come out of the hives for the longer and warmer days.

In Concord, 30 miles east of San Francisco, thousands of bees swarmed a car until a young boy in a beekeeper suit gathered them. Just last weekend in another part of town, a local beekeeper pulled a whole hive out of a barbeque grill.

Concord resident Shelley Keho told ABC affiliate KGO, "I’m giving them their space, absolutely. I had three of them fly right into my face yesterday at the back of my car, so I said that’s O.K. I got your message.”

Experts say while the early swarming is from the arrival of warm weather, the size of the swarms were mostly caused by the on-and-off-again rain. During the cold months, the queen bee and the colony gather in the hive to lay eggs to expand the population. When warm weather arrives, the queen bee’s natural instinct is to leave with half of the colony to find a new home.

“Sometimes they get so crowded in the hive -- it’s called honey-bound. There’s not enough room for them to grow,” Stephanos told ABC News.

However, the turbulent weather has made the colonies return to their hives more frequently before finding a new home, and as a result, the swarms have grown in size.

“Right after the rain there’s an explosion of swarms because that’s their opportunity,” said Stephanos. “Sometimes they land on cars or any temporary location and send out scout bees for new locations. If there’s a hole that’s comfortable for them to grow, they’ll go in there. You name it.”

Even with the slight increase, Stephanos says there’s no need to worry.

“If you don’t bother them, they don’t bother you.”

Yet, some residents still say 40,000 bees in one swarm is enough to keep them on edge.

“I was painting on the side of a building, and I noticed a lot of bees around the building as I was painting. I don’t like bees. I don’t like anything that can fly and attack me at the same time,” Concord painter Mike Tomasik told ABC affiliate KGO.

Experts say if there’s an unwanted swarm, residents should call a local volunteer, which can be found on the Mt. Diablo Beekeepers Association’s website.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Millions of Bees on the Loose after Truck Crash in Utah

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ST. GEORGE, Utah) -- A flatbed truck carrying 460 beehives crashed Sunday, releasing 25 million bees onto Interstate 15 in southern Utah, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Although the hives were contained by a net placed over the truck, the bees escaped, causing major mayhem on the highway.  While the cause of the crash was unknown, the swarms prevented crews from moving the truck, causing miles of traffic on the interstate.  The slowdown caused one car to hit the back-end of a semi-trailer, starting a fire.

Several people were stung in the melee near St. George, including a police officer and others who tried to help the driver and his wife, who were both taken to the hospital for minor injuries and bee stings, Highway Patrol Trooper Dan Altenes told the Tribune.

Altenes also said officers are working with local beekeepers to find the best way to remove the insects.  Larry Lewis, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, said the bees will likely try to stay close to their queens.  No one knows if the queens stayed in their hives during or after the crash but, for now, residents are being cautioned.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio