At least one wild honey bee colony was located last weekend – on my brother’s boat in Florida. Got an email from Paul yesterday – and pictures. Seems he and his wife arrived at the marina on Sunday morning planning on a fishing trip. As they were preparing the boat, Paul noticed about a dozen bees swarming around the cabin. He borrowed some hornet spray from a dock-hand and sprayed one bee that had landed on the transom (he and his wife are both allergic to bee stings). Paul said that as soon as he killed the one bee, many more bees began pouring from a rod holder about 10 feet away and within minutes, hundreds of bees were circling the 22-foot boat.
Fortunately at this time both Paul and Pam were still on the dock. It didn’t take them long to figure out there was a bigger problem than just a few bees, and they called for help.
The marina personnel isolated their boat and called a beekeeper, who used smoke to subdue the bees. The rod box in the side of the hull had to be removed to gain access to the hive.
Paul and Pam had used the boat just two weeks ago, so the bees had moved in and produced five combs in two weeks or less.
There were five large combs that had to be removed along with the bees. Apparently the bees used the starboard rod holder to gain access to what they thought was a good place for a hive.
This photo shows the large Queen in the center, surrounded by her protective drones.
When Paul told me about this, I half-joked that it was fortunate they discovered the bees before they left the marina, or they’d have to choose between bees or sharks. He wrote back that it was funny, his wife had said the same thing. He also said sharks are no joke – they are regularly catching juvenal black-tips, shovelnose, and hammerheads. There are a few things about Florida I don’t miss.
I hope the bees fare well in their new home.