Buzz off: Woman unfazed by bee swarm (+ pics)

By Hayley Hannan

Bees swarmed around this car in the St Lukes area yesterday. Photo / Supplied
Bees swarmed around this car in the St Lukes area yesterday. Photo / Supplied

A woman faced with thousands of bees on her car while Christmas shopping simply hopped in her car and drove away with the swarm attached.

Marion Urwin pulled into a free car space in Wagener Place Shopping Centre, opposite the St Lukes Shopping Centre, in Auckland yesterday.

But as she settled to a stop shortly after 2pm, she realised the car space was free because there was a swarm of bees was buzzing around her car.

"I thought 'oh good, a free car space' and I pulled in. I saw some bees flying around and thought 'oh no, what have I done?' They didn't annoy me, and that's when the people told me they'd captured the queen bee and most of the bees had followed her into the box.''

Ms Urwin was parked in the same spot where the swarm had already been removed from another car by shopping centre custodian Les Thomas.

Thousands of bees arrived yesterday around 2pm and attached themselves to several cars.

Undeterred by the swarm, Ms Urwin popped into the shopping centre for a quick spot of shopping. She returned to find a mass of bees covering the front passenger window of her car and buzzing above the car.

"By the time I came out, there was still a whole pile of those drones and they'd attached themselves to my car so [Mr Thomas] made sure none of the bees got inside the car as I got in, and I drove off and slowly they took off from my car. So by the time I got to Sandringham, they'd already left my car.''

She said she wasn't afraid of the bees.

"Normally I'm terrified of bees, bumblebees because I'm allergic to them. I don't know what it was but I wasn't afraid for the first time in my whole life. They didn't worry me.''

"Brave or stupid, I don't know. For some reason I wasn't afraid. For the first time in my whole life, I didn't feel any threat.''

The bees settled in exactly the same spot as on the car before, and covered the front passenger window of the car: "They must have fancied that side of the car.''

Mr Thomas said he used a sheet of paper to move all of the bees from the car into a cardboard box, and another customer drove the box to an apiarist in Helensville.

No bees were hurt, assured Mr Thomas, who removed the bees with no protective gear on.

Which is just as well, according to pest controller Mike Butler: "The bee population is very minimal these days, and we want to protect them.''

Mr Butler believes the bees settled on the car because the queen had stopped there for a breather. "It looks quite menacing. They move around to find a permanent nesting home, and they surround the queen to protect her.''

Mr Butler said it's not unusual for a hive of bees to move in a swarm but it was unusual to see them land on a car. He said 2000 or more bees could live in a hive.


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