Bee swarm cleared shopping center

May 14, 2008 6:14:04 PM PDT
A professional beekeeper was called in to remove a swarm of honeybees from a Staten Island shopping center Wednesday afternoon. The bees showed up at the parking lot of the Kmart Shopping Plaza on Richmond Avenue in the New Springville section.

Thousands of the insects swarmed around a makeshift hive built on a shopping cart.

The beekeeper, Chester Crowl, Jr., warned passing cars to roll their windows up as they entered the shopping plaza.

The hive was found outside the Time Warner Cable and Blinds To Go stores.

Crowl used a giant vacuum to sucked up what he estimated could be as many as 40,000 bees. The hive will be relocated to Crowl's apiary upstate, where the colony will produce honey.

Employees who work in the shopping center told the Staten Island Advance that they hadn't noticed anything out of the ordinary until around noon, when the swarm was discovered on a blue cart.

Crowl speculated that the bees' original hive got too crowded, forcing them to leave Wednesday morning. It is also possible that the hive split in two, with half flying off with the new queen bee in search of a new home, while the other half remained with the existing hive and the old queen bee.

The bees probably made a makeshift home wherever the queen landed, Crowl said, in this case a shopping cart.