Deputy Fire Chief Miles Schlichte submits-
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