'It was just like this black cloud:' Bees swarm beachgoers in Cape May

CAPE MAY, New Jersey -- A swarm of bees was all the buzz on Tuesday on the beach off Cape May, New Jersey.

Dean Bloemer says he was at Steger Beach between Jackson and Perry streets around 3:30 p.m. when a queen bee and her worker bees swarmed the beach after getting kicked out of a nearby nest.

"Everybody said, 'Oh my goodness, they're bees.' The group right behind us, the fellow had a multicolored umbrella, and the bees were attracted to that," said Bloemer. "A couple of minutes later, this woman came up by the lifeguard and says, 'They're landing on my towel.'"

That woman was Mialy Shrady-Wolf, who was in town visiting with family from Michigan. She was enjoying a book when she noticed the buzzing.

"It was just like this black cloud of something around me; I didn't know exactly what they were," Shrady-Wolf said. "It was just the craziest thing. And once, I guess, the queen landed on my chair, that was it, they just all congregated there."

Mialy Shrady-Wolf



Bloemer soon contacted local auto mechanic Allen Brown, who has enjoyed beekeeping as a hobby for the past seven years.

According to Brown, it's pretty rare to have bees swarm the beach areas because they nest inland.

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"It's pretty rare due to the fact that normally their homes aren't on the beach. (The nest) might be in the roof or inside of one of those buildings, you may be coming and going and nobody's noticed it. So, (the nest) could be very close or it could be up to three miles away because bees don't go any further than a three-mile radius," Brown said.

Brown says the queen and her workers were likely blown onto the beach from the wind and became attracted to the smell of sunscreen lotion.

Dean Bloemer



It took about 25 minutes to gather most of the bees in a cardboard box without a problem. Brown says they do not mean any harm.

"They don't want to sting you. Unless you really provoke them, they won't hurt you," said Brown. "Before they leave, they gorge themselves full of honey so they're full, just so they have something when they find a new home. They're fat and full, and just kind of hanging out."

Some worker bees were back on the beach gathering near a lifeguard stand on Wednesday looking for the colony.

"That's the last place they know, and they don't have a place to go. They're just kind of hanging there waiting for the queen to come back, or somebody to come back and say, 'Hey we moved over here,'" Brown said.

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