20,000 bees chased a car for two days to get the queen out of the car

Five beekeepers, park rangers, and people walking by spent hours trying to get the bees into a cardboard box safely so they could be moved.

The worker bee has learned how to be loyal better than almost any other animal. Once a queen bee has been chosen and raised, a group of worker bees called her “court” takes care of her all the time. They feed and clean her. She is so important to the survival of the hive that they follow her around and go to great lengths to make sure she is safe and healthy. In fact, they are so dedicated that they would follow a 65-year-Mitsubishi old’s Outlander for two days if they thought their queen was in the trunk.

CNN says that the old woman got the biggest surprise of her life when 20,000 bees swarmed onto her car after she went to a nature reserve. Carol Howarth had no idea that she had picked up a very important tiny-winged passenger during her visit. She only realized something was wrong when she stopped to go shopping in Haverfordwest, Wales, and thousands and thousands of bees landed on her car. The angry group of insects had followed the car out of the reserve and then stuck to the back of it for more than 48 hours.

The Independent says that Howarth said she had never seen anything like it. Local ranger Tom Moses saw the whole thing and wrote a very funny account of it in a post called  “Bee-rilliant swarmathon.” Describing the efforts to send the bees on their way without causing them any harm, he wrote: “Driving through town noticed this going on outside the Lower Three Crowns and couldn’t resist getting involved! (bees need our help and I worried that some idiot would come to pour boiling water over them or something stupid!).”

Moses, who works as a park ranger at Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, then called for help from the Pembrokeshire Beekeepers Association to deal with the strange situation. “Roger the beekeeper #1 appeared with a box to put them in and swept some in, then left for a dinner date leaving me backing up Andrew the (rusty) beekeeper #2 (ie watching him and offering encouragement),” he recounted. “At first, bees nicely started going into the box. Stung. Then they started to come out again. Hmmmmm. Had a beer. Stung. Andrew doing a great job, bees in. Stung. Then they were coming out again. Wheres the Queen? In the box, or hiding in the crack between boot and car panel? Stung again.”

“Spoke to Jeremy beekeeper #3 – on Eurostar, but said he’d send help. A drunk bloke from pub went and swept a load of bees off the car with hand looking for the queen, got stung loads pfffft… Beekeeper #4 (man with no name) turned up with a full suit and Smokey thing, stung again, twice – why do they just go for your head? All under control, so buggered off home before stung again. 3 hours well spent, and avoided painting for a bit! The best thing to happen in Haverfordwest for years – should get a load of hives in Castle Square,” Moses came to an end. Five beekeepers, park rangers, and people walking by spent hours trying to get the bees into a cardboard box safely so they could be moved.

But soon after they worked hard to do this, the wind blew the box’s lid off, and the queen went back into the back of the car. Roger Burns, from the Pembrokeshire Beekeepers Association, told the Milford Mercury, “We think the queen had been attracted to something in the car, perhaps something sweet, and had got into a gap on the boot’s wiper blade or perhaps the hinge,”. “I left the cardboard box on the roof while we waited for the last few hundred bees to leave the boot but then a gust of wind blew it off and the queen fled back to the boot again. I have been beekeeping for 30 years and I have never seen a swarm do that. It is natural for them to follow the queen but it is a strange thing to see and quite surprising to have a car followed for two days. It was quite amusing.”