Honey Bee Swarm Found Living In Store Wall - New York News

Honey Bee Swarm Found Living In Store Wall

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BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. -

The world honey bee population is down dramatically and somewhat mysteriously recent years. Given their importance as pollinators for fruits and vegetables and nuts and flowers, it's an agricultural disaster in the making, which made today's rescue and removal all the more fascinating.

Veteran Randy Brunner knew this job was a challenge. His target was 20 feet up, nestled behind a cinder block wall. There were 4,000 worker bees and their leader.

"I've got to make sure I get the queen," says Brunner. "If I don't get the queen, the bees will migrate right back to her."

Using a hammer and chisel to break through the wall, Randy quickly finds the queen surrounded by her subjects.

Honey bees got into the wall several years ago, apparently through a small hole made for an electrical conduit. This swarm probably arrived about a week ago and store manager Tony Volk says they began causing problems last night.

Despite working with little protective gear, Randy will not get stung unless the bees are railed up. He works with his homemade bee vacuum to suck the live bees into a 5-gallon bucket.

"I can hear a lot going down my hose there," he says.

A couple of hours into the job, the queen is captured.

"I think I saw her and I think I got her in the bucket. I would say 95% sure," he says.

Randy's careful work saves the vast majority of honey bees and almost certainly the queen.

"I'll take them back and hopefully they'll hive in one of my hives and hopefully reproduce and get this bee population increased because I know they need all the help we can give them," Randy says.

Randy wrapped up his day's work by spraying the site with apple cidar vinegar. The smell will keep away the few remaining stragglers from the open hive site. The store already has a contractor on stand by, ready to seal up the wall within the next few days.

So the bees are saved. So are the customers.

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