Beekeeper called in to retrieve wayward swarm

Visitor’s bicycle is nowhere to bee scene

Posted 7/2/20

You had to see it to bee-lieve it.

A massive swarm of bees dash-landed at the picnic area at the Boat Haven last Wednesday, leading Port of Port Townsend workers to close off the area and call in …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Beekeeper called in to retrieve wayward swarm

Visitor’s bicycle is nowhere to bee scene

Posted

You had to see it to bee-lieve it.

A massive swarm of bees dash-landed at the picnic area at the Boat Haven last Wednesday, leading Port of Port Townsend workers to close off the area and call in a beekeeper.

Terry Khile, operations manager for the Port, said the insects likely came from a colony near Kah Tai Lagoon that split in two, with the swarm of bees on the search for a new hive for its new queen bee.

Turns out, the bees had chosen a home on the go.

“The queen landed on a bicycle so the bees just swarmed the bicycle. They were all over the place,” Khile said.

“It was a big swarm. There had to be thousands of bees,” he said.

Just to bee careful, Port employees placed traffic cones to keep people out of the area and a worker who is allergic to bee stings was advised to stay away.

Some folks who watched from a distance were impressed by the spectacle, with some telling Khile they’d never seen such a sight.

Not so for Khile.

“I’ve seen it probably half a dozen times,” he said, adding that it’s happened at both marinas in Port Townsend. The last time was about a decade ago at Point Hudson, when a swarm found a hole in the wall to the side of the Port’s office and the bees had to be smoked out.

“If you are outside and see one come by, you can hear it,” Khile said. “It sounds like a buzzsaw coming right at you.”

The bee-all and end-all came after a maintenance worker put the Port in connection with a local beekeeper, who quickly came to the scene, put on protective gear, and scooped up the queen and put her in a wood bee-hive box.

“All the bees started following her into the hive,” he said.

Still, not all of the insects would bee-have.

Collecting the rest of the bees took a few hours, and the bees were cooperative, for the most part.

“Once they got into the box, then they knew it was their hive. Then they started getting territorial,” Khile said.

Khile said he had walked through the middle of the swarm and not a single bee landed on him. 

“When they swarm their main focus is to go find somewhere to live. They really aren’t interested in stinging anybody,” Khile explained.

Once most of them were in the box, however, some of the bees started dive-bombing the beekeeper. 

“They started getting angry,” he said.

Once the bees had been corralled, the visitor retrieved her wheels.

“She came and rescued her bike and took it out of harm’s way,” Khile said.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment