Massive bee hive removed - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Massive bee hive removed

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

An east Albany neighborhood is now rid of tens of thousands of bees. A swarm had gathered around tree limb on Malone Drive where school children waited for the bus.

Master Beekeeper Dale Richter removed the bees and explains why his job has been unusually busy this year.

Jose Fourquet can't believe the huge swarm of bees. He walked through here to school. "Yes sir, all bees. You know outside it's all bees. I never noticed," said Jose.

But someone did notice and to make sure kids like Jose who walked by the swarm on their way to school stayed safe, they contacted WALB. We called master Beekeeper Dale Richter.

"There were probably 30,000-40,000 in there at this point," he said. The damp and mild conditions made for a calm swarm ready for safe removal.

Richter and his partner use a vacuum to safely suck up the bees. A delicate process, because this swarm has wrapped itself around this branch making it no easy task. It was going ever so well until the generator decided to call it a day.

"The generator quit working so we went to another method of wrapping them up and dropping them into a plastic garbage bag," said Richter.

It's a swarm no more. But there's a plan for the bees. Two-and-half years after a swarm of bees attacked and killed a 73-year-old Dougherty County man, it's had folks on high alert. It's likely these bees aren't Africanized, but Richter will take no chances.

Still these bees will keep buzzing. "I will quarantine them for disease and then I will replace the queen with a known queen so we won't have that problem with this hive and make a good hive out of them," Richter said.

In this case problem solved. But what's alarming is that Richter has been much busier than normal this year. "This is my eighth call already this year, and I normally do not start until late March. But I started in late February."

Blame an increase in bees on a mild winter, and they will likely be around until late fall. For now though, young Jose will have a safer walk to school in this neighborhood.

 Richter says if you see a large hive or swarm of bees stay away from it, and contact a professional to see if it needs to be removed.

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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