Okay, you like bees (see post below about the Great Bumblebee Massacre of 2013)?
You get more bees:
Stop staring at my ass.
Somebody shouted out a warning, and Viking Gustafson and her coworkers at the Marine Railways shipyard in Gloucester dived for cover as the swarm came buzzing out of a sheet of rain.
Gustafson, epinephrine pen in hand, watched from a safe distance as 25,000 honeybees, moving as one, took over the shipyard Wednesday afternoon. The 50-foot long, 25-foot wide swarm covered a corner of the yard before coagulating on a piece of scaffolding into a single, basketball-sized mass.
“When they were swarming it looked like a plague of locusts,” said Gustafson, general manager of Marine Railways. “It was definitely biologically amazing to see it happen.”
Gustafson called the fire department and was soon joined at the shipyard by Deputy Fire Chief Miles Schlichte. The pair discussed their options: Could they freeze the bees, burn them away with a cutting torch, or drown them in a jet of water from a fire engine?
“All of these options were deemed not to be in the best interest of all involved, especially the bees,” Schlichte wrote in his report.
Schlichte and his crew began making calls to city officials, looking for somebody who knew what to do with five pounds of stubborn bees. Try Greg Morrow, the beekeeper who lives on Briarwood Street, suggested somebody at the Department of Public Works.
Morrow, a technical manager for multimedia projects at Harvard University, got the call from Schlichte while he was at work and promised to head to the shipyard as soon as he got off.
Morrow said swarming “is a very natural phenomenon, it’s how the bees reproduce.” He added, “Once the impulse is in the hive, it’s pretty hard to get it out.”
Most hives swarm around the summer solstice, when the pollen is heavy and the nectar is flowing, he said.
Gustafson knew the situation was under control when Morrow pulled into the shipyard in his shiny white truck, with a beautifully painted bee emblazoned on each door.
Morrow set up a box, loaded with honeycomb, below the swarm and used a piece of cardboard to shovel the bees into it.
“They fell sort of like one mass, or a tumble of wet clothes,” he said.
The hive likely escaped from a local beekeeper and got caught in the rain, Morrow said, but he’s taken them in and provided a home.
“The only injury during this event was to the deputy chief who got too close to the hive … and was stung,” Schlichte wrote in his report. “The only fatality was to the bee doing the stinging.”
So as not to be typecast (you know who you are) as a bloodless cynic who laughs at the death of bees, let me declare how happy I am that the bees are okay.
And if you find yourself in the vicinity of Wilsonville, Oregon tomorrow (Sunday), at 2 pm, stop by for a moment of buzz (silence doesn’t seem appropriate) for the 50,000 bumblebees who got gassed like so many Iraqi Kurds.
On Sunday June 30, 2013 at 2:00 PM, please join us at the site where an estimated 50,000 bees were killed by humans who sprayed the toxic pesticide, Safari. We will memorialize these fallen lifeforms and talk about the plight of the bees and their importance to life on Earth. If you are passionate, concerned, or curious about this situation, this will be a good opportunity to communicate with others.
Such as this poetess:
bees are canaries in the coal mine of humanity
bees are canaries
in the coal mine of humanity
25,000 bees dropped
stunned and yellow-faced
from Oregon flower trees
the next day
I am some kind of monster
sadder about the bees
but I knew the bees
we all knew them
That brings tears to my hundreds of eyes.
I like how she combines three life forms—apian, avian, and human—into one line: “bees are canaries in the coal mine of humanity”. Bet Emily Dickinson couldn’t do that.