Bee swarm vacates car lot


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Posted Online: May 19, 2006, 12:00 am
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By Kurt Allemeier, kallemeier@qconline.com

ROCK ISLAND -- Police Chief John Wright had a jail break on his hands Friday afternoon.

The Rock Island police chief, a novice beekeeper, arrived shortly after noon to try to corral a swarm of bees that had taken up residence on the back bumper of a Chevrolet Lumina at Sherri D's Auto Sales.

He was about 15 minutes too late. Workers at the car lot reported the bees were gone when they checked about 12 p.m. No one saw them go, but as swarms change location, they are described as leaving in a cartoon-like cloud that swirls away.

"It would've been a cool cloud to see," said Sherri Disterhoft, owner of Sherri D's. ‘’They must've left for a lunch date."

Chief Wright arrived with a brood box filled with sheets of wax to transport the swarm, but all that was left was about 50 to 100 bees and a white residue on the car's back bumper. Speculation was the residue was bee droppings left behind by the heaping, writhing mound of black and yellow.

About a half-hour after he set down the box, with a dribble of honey to try to attract the bees, Chief Wright, who has two hives on property he owns in Mercer County, opened the box and found he didn't have many takers.

"I thought I was going to get a free hive, but it doesn't look like it," he said. "Once they find a spot, it doesn't take long for them to leave."

Ms. Disterhoft's employees said the bees left about one hour short of a three-day residency at the car lot.

The swarm, likely split off from a hive after a younger queen kicked out an older queen in what is a coup bee’etat.

Overpopulation of a hive, along with an older queen bee and a mild winter, like the Quad-Cities enjoyed, can cause a swarm, according to the University of Nebraska's entomology Web site.

Chief Wright, who has kept bees for about three years, has had a swarm split from one of his hives. The swarm massed on a nearby tree and he was able to drop it into a brood box and save it.

"A good beekeeper, unlike myself, doesn't want a swarm," he said.

The bees were good neighbors during their stay at Sherri D's, employees said, staying together clumped to the car bumper. That is typical of swarms looking for a home.

"Just leave them alone and they won't get aggressive on you," Chief Wright said.

The time to worry is if a swarm relocates in the crack of a house or an attic, then the bees get more aggressive, he said.














 



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  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




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