Imagine waking and walking outside your house to see a giant swarm of honey bees coming right for you. That's exactly what happened to Rick Moore Sept. 25 outside his Destin home.
"He said he thought he heard a Harley coming down the street," Moore's wife Donna Tingle-Moore told The Log. "He said he turned and saw a swarm of bees the size of a house."
Tingle-Moore said she figured they were just love bugs, and didn't think much of it. About two hours later, her neighbor called and said there was something all over Tingle-Moore's red Volkswagen Beetle and RV.
"They were everywhere," Tingle-Moore said.
While that many bees would scare most anyone, Tingle-Moore is allergic to bees, making the situation more perilous.
"I was out there taking the video. My kids will see it on Facebook and they're going to say, 'Mom, we're going to kill you," Tingle-Moore said. "It was a very exciting adventure."
Charles Ray, a research fellow in the Entomology and Plant Pathology department at Auburn University, said honey bees will swarm for one of two reasons: either the colony divided as a large portion of the workers followed a new queen out of the hive, or the entire colony left their home because it was destroyed or no longer inhabitable. Evacuation of the entire hive has become more common in recent years, with the immergence of a new enemy.
"It happens fairly often with the lesser hive beetle, which gets in and starts tunneling through the hive and wax comb. The bees will finally just give up and abandon that colony," Ray told The Log.
The bees were not likely trying to make their home on Tingle-Moore's Bug, Ray said. He said bees will travel a short distance from their abandoned home, usually no more than a couple hundred yards, and gather at a temporary base while scouts search for a new spot to call home.
"They may remain in that temporary location from just a few hours to possibly a few days," Ray said.
Ray said the best thing to do when a swarm gathers on your property is to call a local beekeeper. Some beekeepers are happy to gather the swarm at no cost, because it's a free colony.
Tingle-Moore said she called a few local keepers, who wanted to charge her $500 to collect the bees. She wasn't willing to pay the fee, so her husband took care of them. Moore drove the Volkswagen around the neighborhood to get the bees off of it. He then used a garden hose to chase the bees off the RV and the house.
For a list of local beekeepers, visit BeeRemovalSource.com.