Bank calls in bee team

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 20, 2012

By Andy Morrissey
Officials at the Wells Fargo branch on West Innes Street had to call in a beekeeper Friday after a swarm of bees took a liking to the bank’s sign.
The bees were noticed Thursday evening, and by Friday morning a buzzing ball of black and yellow clustered at the bottom of the W of Wells Fargo. The area around the sign was roped off, warning signs were put up and bank workers were greeting customers at the door to warn them about the bees.
Buddy Kyles was called in. He’s been beekeeping for about six or seven years after a friend helped him get set up. He rolled into the bank parking lot with a pickup bed full of gear, protective clothing and his youngest grandson, Chris.
The two took the bees in hand, brushing the ball of bees into a box and then closing the lid.
By afternoon, Kyles was confident that he had captured the queen and her swarm.
By trapping the queen in the box, the other bees would soon follow her in through a small hole in one end. Kyles had to come back and vacuum up some stragglers with a homemade contraption involving two 5-gallon pails, but he was confident the problem was resolved.
He said there’s no specific reason for why the swarm picked the bank. It was the result of serendipity of a queen looking for a new home.
“Somebody around has got a hive, and they had a queen hatch in the hive,” he said. “There’s a No. 1 queen in a hive and when that queen hatches another queen in there, they fight and one of them has to leave.”
The ousted queen then flies up into the air and draws a group of drones who will breed with her, once she finds a new home.
Even if he hadn’t intervened, Kyles said the queen would have likely moved on to a hole in a tree or a building and set up a hive.
He was going to leave the swarm in the box for a while and see if it would take up residence at his home on Bethaven Drive.
“I’m going to put them in there and see what they can do.” “The way they are right now, they won’t make much (honey) this winter.”
If he succeeds, he’ll have another hive to add to his collection of about a half dozen that he moves around to help friends get their plants pollinated.
“It’s interesting just being around (bees), watching them, seeing what they do,” Kyles said.