When 65-year-old Carol Howarth of Wales set off in her car to run some errands, she had no idea what was following her — and what would continue to follow her for almost two days.
What On Earth?
One sunny Sunday, Carol was driving her Mitsubishi Outlander. She exited the vehicle and went into a store to do some shopping. While she was inside, something terrifying descended from the sky, settling on the back of her car. It was so big; it covered the vehicle’s entire rear portion. What on earth was it?
It turns out; it was a swarm of 20,000 bees!
A Quick-Thinking Onlooker
People in the parking lot were amazed. Many took pictures. But park ranger Tom Moses, 41, was worried — not so much about the people in the area, who might be injured by the bees, though, interestingly. Moses was concerned that someone might try to solve the bee problem with insecticides. And knowing how the bee population is currently in danger, he knew that could be disastrous.
Moses had seen the “big brown splodge” as he was driving by. He stopped to see how he could help.
“I had seen swarms before settle on things like this but never one as large as this. It was quite a thing to see – certainly a ‘wow’ moment. I was really worried that someone could get hurt by them or that someone might damage them in their bid to clear the car so I stopped to help out.”
But Moses didn’t escape unscathed. He received several stings for his trouble, including stings to the head, neck, and ears.
Moses contacted the Pembrokeshire Beekeepers’ Association. The Association immediately sent out a team that hoped to capture or disperse the bees safely.
But That Wasn’t The End of It
Howarth, too, was amazed when she came out of the store to find the fuss centered on her car. But by that time, the beekeepers had managed to safely disperse the swarm. Howarth got into her car and drove away, thinking the problem was solved.
The next morning, Howarth went out to her car to find that the swarm had returned. They had followed her and settled, once again, on the back of her car.
Roger Burns of Pembrokeshire Beekeepers suspects they were trying to rescue their Queen. Burns, who has thirty years of experience keeping bees, thinks that the queen bee might have flown into the car at some point and become trapped.
“We think the queen bee 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,” he said.
He also said that this level of devotion from an entire hive is highly unusual. One expects bees to follow the Queen, but all of them, for two days? That’s amazing. Burns said that in his thirty years of beekeeping, he’d never seen anything like it.
Howarth contacted the beekeepers once again. This time they managed to successfully remove the swarm.
What About the Queen?
Howarth and the beekeepers searched the car, but couldn’t find the queen anywhere. Had she even been there? And if not, why did they follow Howarth’s car?
“Perhaps they just like the heat of my car,” Howarth speculated. You can watch the whole story in the video below.