HAVERFORDWEST, Wales — This is the story of a ferocious army determined to rescue their queen from a metal fortress.
Or, viewed another way, a swarm of bees who, for two days, followed their queen bee trapped inside a Mitsubishi Outlander. Either way, it makes for a good tale.
The Outlander belongs to Carol Howarth, a 68-year-old grandmother, who had no idea she had picked up a tiny winged passenger when she visited a nature reserve.
Later, when she stopped to go shopping, the bees descended — thousands of them.
Tom Moses, who works as a Pembrokeshire Coast National Park ranger, was driving by when he happened upon the raid.
“Driving through town noticed this going on outside the Lower Three Crowns and couldn’t resist getting involved!” he wrote in a pun-filled post on his Facebook page. (Headline: Bee-rilliant swarm.)
He was worried someone might do something “stupid.”
Bees are already dying from habitat loss and terrible farming practices, like pesticide use, he figured. The last thing you want is someone to pour boiling water on them to shoo them away from a car.
So, he called in reinforcements — the intrepid folks at the Pembrokeshire Beekeepers Association
They gingerly nudged the bees into a box. Not so gingerly though. There were several stinging incidents like the “drunk bloke from pub went and swept a load of bees off car with hand looking for queen, got stung loads pfffft…..”
You’d think that would be the end of the story, but you’d be wrong.
The next morning, Howarth found the bees were back, she told The Telegraph. So again, out came the beekeepers.
By 6 p.m., her Outlander was free of the bees. (No word though on what happened to the queen.)
Moses said members of colonies often follow their queen bee if she moves hives.
And queens move hives if the hives are disturbed — say, by humans. Or by the arrival of another queen bee.
He speculates the shiny warm Mitsubishi might have seemed like a good option for a new home.