Saturday, July 12, 2008

Don't mess with the Queen

We had a rather interesting incident go down on Thursday in front of the shop...

I was sewing in the window nook that afternoon and happened to notice these huge clouds of bugs flying around. Being so close to the river, this happens from time to time so I chose to ignore it and move on with my day. About an hour later I looked out again and noticed even more bugs this time around and people were running up and down the street with their noses and mouths covered. I found this to be a little more than slightly weird and closed my front door while constantly keeping an eye on matters. Apocalypse, anyone?

A customer came in and said he had no idea what the bugs were, but was concerned because they were flying into people as if they felt threatened. I found that to be even more bizarre, but then again, anyone who has tried to enjoy a day outdoors knows how annoying insects can be, so I continued on with my sewing. A little later, Mike came in and told me the bugs were actually honeybees and explained that there was a small crowd of people building outside, watching the bees collecting on a flag across the street. We went out to investigate and found several police officers, the fire department, DPW and the press there with us. Everyone just kind of stood around watching the bees in amazement. I guess you hear all of the news about them disappearing at alarming rates, but yet here they are in all of their glory in Troy, NY.

The city called in a local beekeeper to remedy the situation. Her job was to locate the queen, remove her, and the rest of the swarm would then follow her to wherever she was going. They put this poor woman in a cherry picker, raised her up to the flag, and everyone stood around silently as she brushed them off of the flag into a wooden box. The bees were smoked (to calm them) after the box was closed and she brought them to her property.

As interesting and exciting as this was to witness, I can't tell you how happy I am that they didn't kill the bees. In a world where killing an animal or any creature who may act out of the ordinary or in a way we don't understand is routine, I was so worried that they'd start spraying these bees just because they were around. No one was stung and everyone on site respected them. I'm both shocked and relieved.

Anyway, Mike took the pictures for this post. I had my camera with me, but was trying to watch what was going on and make the second load of coffee jackets in time for their pickup. Besides, he can take a better picture than I can any day. As for the bees, there's still a lot of them on the flag, but according to the powers that be with the city, they're expected to disperse within the next few days.


Murray said...

So crazy! Poor little bees. Have you heard about all the efforts to save the Bees?? They are disappearing for some reason, this is the first link I found about it:

I'm sure you could find more info if you were so inclined. The beekeeper was probably tickled pink, she totally saved the day and scored a new bee colony!

Mare said...

Wow Katie, awesome photos! I do hope those lost bees find their way to their new home...Do you know where this female beekeeper was from? Hmmm...maybe another source for fresh honey!!! :)

Kate said...

It's sad, isn't it, Murray? The fact that they're disappearing was the main reason why I was hoping they wouldn't kill them. There's still a ton of them back on the flag today. Makes me wonder if they just want to be there. No clue.

Mom, I have no idea where this beekeeper is from. She works with the city in situations like this, though, so she must be close by.

Good Girls Studio said...

bzzz bzz bzz bzzzzzzzzzz bzzzz

...saith the bees!

Elisabeth said...

Holy mackerel! That is a lot of bees! It does seem kind of apocalyptic. I wonder what they find so intoxicating about that flag.
Bees are cool, but I am scared to death of them, especially after being randomly attacked and stung umpteen times while in Texas last year. O_o

Sarah said...

I am so so glad the bees are going to a safe new home! Glad to see diversity in the natural world is alive and well in Troy!

Jaimee said...

WOW! I've never seen such a thing especially these days like you said. I was just discussing their disappearance with my neighbor. When we moved into our house 7 years ago, they were everwhere and now...I can't remember when I saw one last.

How Fantastic did that Beekeeper - she's a Hero!!! (You couldn't suit me up if you paid me millions)