Busy bees form red swarm

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OXFORD – It was something straight out of a science fiction movie when Rebbecca Richardson looked out her window Monday morning and saw a swarm of thousands of bees heading straight for a pine tree in her front yard.

“I couldn’t even see the tree. It was all red,” said Richardson, of Rock-O-Dundee Drive.

Richardson said a “tunnel” of thousands of bees swarmed out of a pine grove across the street and headed toward the lone 15-foot-tall pine tree at the edge of her driveway. She immediately ran and shut all the windows and doors in her house. Within hours the bees were in a cluster a foot wide and a foot long in a branch on the tree.

“I don’t know who to call or what to do,” said Richardson, who first noticed a smaller swarm of bees on the pine tree about 10:30 Monday morning. By noon she was watching the tunnel of bees swarming out of the woods and onto the tree. “It was thousands and thousands, a foot wide and a foot long hanging off the tree,” said Richardson. “It’s gathering more.”

Richardson said Monday night that she contacted the National Geographic Society, which has expressed interest in the phenomenon, particularly because the society is now studying why bees seem to be leaving many regions of the country in large numbers.

She expects to hear back from the society today.

Richardson said her husband had mowed around the tree Sunday and noticed nothing unusual. Her son had also played on his tricycle in the yard with no reports of bees.

Although the swarm had lessened somewhat by Monday night, bees were still coming into the cluster. “It’s gathering more and more,” she said.

Asked what she was going to do, Richardson shook her head. “I don’t know,” she said.

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