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Swarming Bees Take Over Shopping Carts
Bees clustering on shopping carts and bushes outside The Dollar Tree in the Long's parking lot caused property management officials to rope off the area and look around for a beekeeper the morning of April 21. A number of shopping carts stood unused and clearly labeled "Honey Bees" until a beekeeper corralled and carried off the swarm that evening.

Amateur beekeeper Dave Woody said he works for Sarah Lee, the bread delivery company that serves the Riverbank shopping complex. He happened to be on vacation but heard about the predicament from a fellow worker and volunteered to help.

Honeybees swarm or leave their hive following a queen in search of a new home fairly often at this time of year. There must be several hives in the vicinity, he said. They settle anywhere they think suitable, in this case in shrubs 40 feet or less from the Dollar Tree entrance. He took over a small white hive with a honeycomb inside from his own property that morning, left it to induce the bees to gather inside and returned at dusk when bees traditionally settle down and congregate as the temperature falls.

Woody turned up wearing a beekeeper's hat and veil to protect his face but clad in shorts and T-shirt because bees generally do not attack and sting unless they are provoked, feel trapped as when caught in your hair or happen to be the aggressive Africanized species.

That evening he had no problems retrieving his hive with a majority of the bees inside and carrying it off to his own property. He didn't even bring a device like a small bellows and blow smoke in the hive, which has a calming effect upon the insects.

Men have admired bees for centuries for living in an orderly society that shares out the tasks of hunting for food, rearing its young plus protecting its home and does not tolerate non-contributors.

Bees communicate and pass on news on anything from the direction of food to the approach of enemies by dancing.

They collect the nectar of flowers to make honey, which provides the energy for their flight muscles and for heating the hive in winter. They fan their wings to cool the hive in summer. Honey is very nutritious and was used as a natural sweetener long before sugar.

A bee's sting is barbed and generally torn away in the act so they die after stinging just once.

Hives consist of 40,000 to 80,000 bees in summer. Almost all are sterile worker females, whose duties include gathering food, guarding the hive's entrance, and feeding the young. Using special royal jelly, they rear one queen whose sole purpose is to breed and produce young. There are about a hundred male drones per hive whose sole job is to fertilize the queen on her mating flight. In severe winters, they are then driven from the hive. They live only about 90 days.