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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

13

What Is the Deal With Bees Right Now

Yesterday, a tractor-trailer carrying 16 to 20 million bees crashed on 95 and released its cargo. A million bees swarmed an accessory store in Kentucky on Monday. Last week tens of thousands of bees casually swarmed this guy's car, this statue's crotch, a Topshop in London, a flower stall in an outdoor market; earlier in May a bunch of bees hijacked someone's Mother's Day, swarmed Astoria, killed a roofer in Texas.

Is this normal bee stuff? Is this just what happens with them every spring? How many highway rigs are full of bees, ready to explode?



13 Comments / Post A Comment

AnnieM

I am all for bees because, y'know, saving the ecosystem and crops and apparently everything will go to hell if they aren't around...but pictures of a swarm of bees are just horrifying. Terrible. Visceral, skin-crawling reaction over here.

Ew.

Also, "full of bees, ready to explode?" made me laugh a lot.

cee
cee

@AnnieM can i suggest you NEVER investigate the episodes in which a swarm of bees attack some hornets because they are beyond nightmare fodder.

realizedniche

@cee It's the other way around! But yes: horrifying.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

Anyone else remember the "bird-pocalypse" that seemed to worry people a few years ago? I think this is just different species taking turns at scaring humans. Or.. y'know, conspiracies and stuff.

adorable-eggplant

@Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that) We are being elaborately punk'd.

jennonthego

In England, it seems to be SOP for bees to swarm. When I landed in the UK two years ago (http://jenninsf.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/uk-and-since-we-are-in-england-i-suggest-you-make-some-tea/), my host couldn't greet me at the train station because her flat had been invaded by a swarm of bees and she was trying to deal with that (as she is deathly allergic). The porters seemed nonplussed by her request that they come deal with it. Apparently, in the spring, bees just swarm in Cambridge. Lovely.

ru_ri

The way orchards and agriculture and bees work in this country involves lots of transport. Up here in the very north, where I live, overwintering bees is risky (we lost both hives this winter due to extreme temperatures). But the fruit farmers (cherries, apples, peaches, etc. in Michigan) need bees to pollinate. So commercial beekeepers truck their hives south in the winter (the local guy we just bought replacement colonies from takes them to Florida for orange grove pollination; others go to California for nut crops, etc.) and then bring them back north in the warmer months. During May and October there will be lots of trucks on the roads with bees in them!

As a beekeeper, I feel very sad for the bees who were in that truck crash. Moving bees is disorienting for them already. When the truck crashes, they lose their hive, their queen, and their home. They are very gentle when they swarm (swarming time is when people take those silly photos of bee beards, etc.) so they won't sting unless they are threatened. They are just trying to keep their queen safe and find a new place to live.

Bees, especially honeybees, are wonderful and amazing, so please try not to fear them. If you see a swarm, please don't call pest control or spray them with Raid! Call a local beekeeper--they should be more than happy to take the swarm away (more bees = more honey for us! Win-win).

bureaucrab

My favorite part of the truck story comes per Gawker: "Proving it always pays to be prepared, Delaware State Sgt. Paul Shavack said it was the first time the state had used [its] 'honeybee swarm removal plan.'" Somebody in DE actually thought of everything.

adorable-eggplant

@bureaucrab My spirit state.

myeviltwin

We can only hope that the "bee swarms" and the "16 to 20 million bees in a truck" tags aren't used in the future....

fendou

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