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It's swarm in this suit: Bee the Change beekeeper Neal McAloon at work in Camp Street on Tuesday

By CASS MARRETT

A swarm of bees created quite a buzz near Queenstown Mall on Tuesday.

A crowd gathered around a tree on Camp Street when hundreds of bees began swarming around it.

To the rescue came local beekeeper Neal McAloon, of social enterprise Bee The Change, who got the swarm under control.

Bee the Change: McAloon says swarming bees are “really not aggressive”

McAloon says swarming bees are common in the spring and early into the summer, and are not usually dangerous.

‘‘They’re really not aggressive when they’re swarming, and there’s two
reasons for that — one, is they gorged on honey for supplies when they’ve left the hive, so they can set up a new hive.

‘‘The other is they’re focused on following the scent of the Queen — the Queen’s pheromones.

‘‘I’m not saying that people can’t get stung, but the chances are extremely low.’’

The best thing to do when bees swarm in public areas is to call a bee keeper, he says.

On Tuesday, he received four calls and a text, and his phone was still ringing as he drove into town.

Onlookers watched McAloon climb a ladder and shake the bees off a
branch and into a box — the intention being to trap the Queen bee so she’d
entice the others into the box.

He would quarantinethem, feed them some sugar and eventually give them a new home, he says.

He would also check his hives in Queenstown Gardens to see if they’d come from there.

‘‘I work really hard on swarm management in my own operation, and I try not to collect other people’s swarms because it can spread disease into your own operation.’’

With the rescue job going smoothly, McAloon hoped it wouldn’t cost him.

‘‘I just hope council don’t give me a parking ticket, I’m doing a public service.’’

cass.marrett@scene.co.nz