MOUNT VERNON — Walking down his driveway to retrieve the paper Monday morning, Lou Petros heard — and then saw — a swarm of honeybees on the limb of a pine tree beside his drive on Heritage Lane. The hive was about 4 feet off the ground. He called beekeeper Shirley Fletcher, who arrived with a hive. Working together, they placed the hive under the limb and removed the top.
Petros, dressed in a full beekeeper outfit, cut the limb while Fletcher lowered it to the hive. The bees immediately started to move into their new home.
The transition went quickly. In a few minutes, most of the bees were in the hive. Fletcher put new honeycombs, with fresh beeswax, into slots in the hive, and carefully replaced the cover to avoid killing any of the bees. She placed the branch with the remaining bees close to the entrance at the bottom of the hive.
Fletcher said the swarm came from a nest where a new queen had been born. When that happens, the old queen takes part of the nest to a new location. The pine tree limb, she said, was probably just a stop before locating a permanent home. Fletcher also said the bees were full of honey and very docile. They made no attempt to land on or sting Fletcher or Petros.
Honeybees, which are essential to pollinate new crops, might be just what Petros needs as a gardener. But, he said, that will depend on whether his wife Sandy concurs.