According to a beekeeper, the bee colonies often follow their queen whenever she moves hives.
We have all heard of how fiercely protective bees are towards their queen but maybe this is the first time we have seen a live example. According to a report by CNN, a swarm of 20,000 bees followed a Mitsubishi Outlander for two days in order to rescue their queen who was trapped inside. The car was owned by a 68-year-old woman named Carol Howarth who had absolutely no idea that she picked up a queen bee in her car after she paid a visit to a nature reserve.
On her way back, she made a stop at Haverfordwest, West Wales to go shopping. And that's when she witnessed thousands of bees were following her car to rescue their queen. Tom Moses, who is a park ranger at the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, was driving by when he saw the car covered with a lot of bees stuck to its rear end.
He wrote a lengthy post on Facebook, saying, "Bee-rilliant swarmathon! Driving through town noticed this going on outside the Lower Three Crowns and couldn't resist getting involved! (bees need our help and I worried that some idiot would come and pour boiling water over them or something stupid!). Called pembs beekeepers and voila - Roger the beekeeper #1 appeared with a box to put them in and swept some in, then left for a dinner date leaving me backing up Andrew the (rusty) beekeeper #2 (ie watching him and offering encouragement)."
He continued, "At first, bees nicely started going into the box. Stung. Then they started to come out again. Hmmmmm. Had a beer. Stung. Andrew doing a great job, bees in. Stung. Then they were coming out again. Wheres the Queen? In the box, or hiding in the crack between boot and car panel? Stung again. Hmmmmmm. Google. Spoke to Jeremy beekeeper #3 - on Eurostar, but said he'd send help. Andrew bought me another beer (by the way why is it £1.20 a half and £2.50 a pint in that pub?)."
Moses concluded, "A drunk bloke from pub went and swept a load of bees off the car with hand looking for the queen, got stung loads pfffft. Beekeeper #4 (man with no name) turned up with a full suit and Smokey thing, stung again, twice - why do they just go for your head? All under control, so buggered off home before stung again. 3 hours well spent, and avoided painting for a bit! The best thing to happen in Haverfordwest for years - should get a load of hives in Castle Square.... :-) Maybe could become Hiverfordwest?"
Maybe after reading all of this, you would be thinking that this was over but no, it was far from it. The next morning she found out that the bees were back and once again the beekeepers were called, she told The Telegraph. After a lot of work, her car was finally free from all bees, but we still don't know what happened to the queen. According to Moses, the bee colonies often follow their queen bee if she moves hives.
Howarth said that she has never seen anything like this. She said, "One theory was that the queen was trapped in my car and the swarm were following. But they couldn't find the queen anywhere so I've no idea if that was right. Apparently, bees can swarm at this time of the year and it is a very strong instinct for them to follow the queen. I still don't really understand why because they couldn't see the queen anywhere. Perhaps they just like the heat of my car."
Pembrokeshire Beekeepers, Roger Burns gave his valuable input, saying, "It is possible the queen had been attracted to something in the car - perhaps a sweet or food in the car. The swarm of around 20,000 had followed her and were sat around on the boot of the car. I brought over a cardboard box and carefully brushed them into there as quickly as possible as I was aware it was a big swarm in the middle of the high street."
He continued, "I got about 15 or 20 stings for my trouble. I then left the cardboard box on the roof while we waited for the last few hundred bees to leave the boot but then a gust of wind blew it off and the queen may have fled back to the boot again. I then had to leave and another beekeeper took up the watch however eventually the car owner returned and drove off. I have been beekeeping for 30 years and I have never seen a swarm do that. It is natural for them to follow the queen but it is a strange thing to see and quite surprising to have a car followed for two days. It was quite amusing."