37ºF

Massive bee swarm saved in Martinsville

Swarm relocated; estimated to have 7,000-10,000 bees

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – It's an experience exterminator Eddie Duke will likely be buzzing about for a while.

Cellphone video he shot shows an estimated 7,000-10,000 honey bees clustered around a small tree at the Maplewood apartment complex Monday.

Duke shot the video after being called to get rid of the pesky problem.

That's when he turned to local beekeeper Earl Vanover.

"It was April the first and my first thought was, 'He's pulling an April Fool's prank on me,'" Vanover said.

But, this was not a joke.

Vanover was surprised to get Eddie's call because swarms like this aren't seen very often this early in the year.

"We have saved hives this large, but not out in the open and with the temperatures that we had. It was kind of an unusual deal," Duke said.

Vanover quickly went to work getting the bees into a box for transport.

"A lot of times, they'll just cluster onto a branch and you can just shake them into a box. But in this case, I couldn't do that. I had to actually scoop them with my hands into the box very gently. Over about a period of two hours, we probably were able to get 98 percent of the bees," Vanover said.

He put the bees in a permanent hive at his house and is now caring for them.

Duke said he's glad he got to see the swarm.

"Very few people get to experience it, especially in a non-set up environment. It just happens; to be at the height they were, they weren't 40 feet up in the air where you couldn't get to them," Duke said.

An un-bee-lievable memory that may never happen again.


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