Bee swarm comes after car - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Bee swarm comes after car

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Dennis Gilbert Dennis Gilbert

Thousands of swarming bees were removed from a busy downtown Albany intersection this morning. It's the same spot where bees attacked an Albany man's car Wednesday.

A beekeeper captured an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 bees Thursday morning on the corner of Flint and Madison Streets. Those bees will be tested to determine whether they are Africanized.

An Albany man says he experienced their aggressiveness first hand when they came at his car out of nowhere. What's normally a peaceful path to work turned out to be just the opposite for Dennis Gilbert.

"I started hearing them hit the window and I looked up and I saw it was bees," Gilbert said.

He says Wednesday morning dozens of angry bees attacked the vehicle he was driving. "They started hitting the hood, the side windows, the side of the car."

He says moments after he pulled up to a red light at the intersection of Flint and Madison, the bees began hitting the car one right after another. "I started freaking out I thought what in the world is going on here."

"It was like they wanted the car. It was a turbo charged car, I thought maybe it was making a noise that the bees didn't like."

This morning, crews removed an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 bees from the same corner where Gilbert's vehicle was attacked. "When we got here we had a swarm of bees that landed on the curb," said  

Something simple, that could make a big difference in determining what type of bee. "That's a sign indicative of the Africanized bees, that they like to go to the ground but it could also mean it's a bad queen, that's having trouble flying," said Asst. Lee Co. Fire Chief Paul Branch, who is also a beekeeper.

That's because at first glance, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between an Africanized honey bee and a European Honey bee.

"The Africanized are more aggressive, they protect their colony more," said Branch.

Public works assisted in vacuuming up the bees..which will now be sent off for testing. "I've never heard of insects attacking a vehicle it just blew my mind," said Branch.

In the meantime, Gilbert has advice for people who could be caught in similar situations. "If you see a swarm of insects, roll your windows up before you find out whether or not they are bees."

When Gilbert got back to his shop, he realized the glass part of the sunroof was opened, but thankfully the inside cover was shut.

Last October, a swarm of Africanized bees killed a Dougherty County man in a field off Williamsburg Road. That was the first time killer bees were confirmed in Georgia. Another colony was recently confirmed in Bainbridge.

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