Honey Bees swarm Gloucester Marine Railways.

Deputy Fire Chief Miles Schlichte submits-

Railways bees

I thought you all might appreciate this call we had today. Photos attached also.

In this business one never knows what the FD will be called upon to handle on any given day.

Honey Bees swarm Gloucester Marine Railways.

In spite of their over one hundred and fifty years of being able to handle anything, the Gloucester Marine Railways workers ran for cover today when an estimated 25,000 honey bees decided to call some steel scaffolding home.

The FD received a call from Ms. Viking Gustafson who is the manager of the Gloucester Marine Railways on Rocky Neck. Ms. Gustafson had a unique situation that she was requesting help with. A substantial swarm of bees had descended on the shipyard and Ms. Gustafson was concerned for the safety of her employees. Upon arrival the Deputy Chief on duty met with Ms. Gustafson and discussed the options as the bees had now settled on some steel scaffolding and the bees were in one large clump. Suggested options from the shipyard workers included smoking them to sleep, a quick burst of CO to freeze them, a quick burst of flame from a cutting torch or a drowning water spray from a fire engine. All of these options were deemed not to be in the best interest of all involved, especially the bees.

The animal control officer was called to the scene and upon arrival he agreed with the plan to leave the bees alone and wait for them to fly away. With the assurance from animal control that the bees wouldn’t bother anyone who didn’t bother them, the workers again went about their business while giving the bees a wide berth. While this plan was ongoing calls were made to local connections including the staff at the Gloucester DPW who came up with the name of a bee keeper who lives on Briarwood Street. This gentleman was called by the Deputy Chief and a message left on his home phone. Mr. Greg Morrow contacted the Deputy Chief a short while later and agreed to come by when he got home from work in Boston.

Around 7PM Mr. Morrow and the Deputy Chief met Ms. Gustafson at the shipyard to find that the bees had moved from the scrap pile they were on to an electrical panel on the pier. The concern was now that the bees would attempt to create a hive inside the electrical box so instead of waiting any longer for them to move on their own accord, the decision was made to remove the bees from the property.

In preparation for this possibility Mr. Morrow had brought an empty wooden hive from his home which he set on top of the electrical panel for the bees to enter. Once the bees had entered their new hive Mr. Morrow removed the hive from the railways and transported them safely away.

The only injury during this event was to the Deputy Chief who got too close to the hive taking the attached pictures and was stung. The only fatality was to the bee doing the stinging.

Mr. Morrow estimated that this substantial hive weighed in at five pounds of bees with an estimated 25,000 bees in number.

Deputy Fire Chief Miles Schlichte

bee box

About Joey C

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16 Responses to Honey Bees swarm Gloucester Marine Railways.

  1. So glad every one involved agreed the safety of the bees was priority! Love this town!

  2. cammygrammy says:

    It’s true. You never know who you’ll find on Rocky Neck!! We are attracting visitors from all over!! Thanks, Deputy Chief, for your sacrifice in bringing us these pictures.

  3. MAJack says:

    With the honey bee population in steep decline (for reasons still unknown), and their value to agriculture, it’s great news that their viability was kept as a priority.

  4. scubajohn says:

    Away from the hive and with nothing to protect (ie honey or eggs) honey bees are very docile. You did the write thing to call in a beekeeper. The bee population in the world is too low to kill them off.

  5. schooner39 says:

    Nice work! Calm heads prevailed.

  6. abbielundberg says:

    Thanks to Miles and all involved for their calm and reasoned response to the situation – we need honey bees! I don’t know much about bee behavior: will they stay on with Mr. Morrow or move on?

  7. This makes me happy. I love that they didn’t just fire blast the bees. Honeybees have been dying off in record number, so keeping this group alive is a good thing.

  8. I’m glad there was a happy ending for (almost) all involved! It’s great that there was sensitivity to the importance of the bees, as others have commented.

  9. Sweet! If anyone finds themselves facing another swarm, feel free to give me a shout. We captured one last summer, but it didn’t survive the harsh winter. We’d love to capture another swarm. And yes, they’re VERY docile while swarming. They’re just looking for a good place to live–and protecting the queen (she’s in the very middle of that swarm).

  10. Great Story. So glad they were so concerned with the Bee’s well being. great job GFD!

  11. Laura Howard says:

    GREAT STORY! The way the situation was handled was perfect. Wow!

  12. Susan says:

    Glad to see someone got some “FREEBEES”. Hail to him and the Queen too!

  13. Bill Cox says:

    Thanks Miles, I would have brought the chimnea(sp?) To help smoke them out. Would have made the Phyllis A maritime Saturday on 7/6 interesting……

  14. Kim Smith says:

    Wonderful story with a very happy ending for the bees. As Abbie said, “thanks for the calm and reasoned response.” Thank you for sharing!

  15. john says:

    thank you viking for reaching out for help. you could have easily asked ed to get someone to torch the entire bee population or perhaps even have done it yourself but of course you didn’t. and that is good.

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