Bees Swarm Pa. Turnpike Toll Plaza

Bees Swarm Pa. Turnpike Toll Plaza

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VALLEY FORGE, Pa. -

There was a larger buzz than normal at one of the toll plazas on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Wednesday.

That’s because a swarm of up to 40,000 bees made the lights above a toll booth their new home.

Fox 29's Drew Dickman reports.

The majority of the bees were moved to the Philadelphia Bee Company late in the afternoon.

Before they ended up there, they were buzzing all around the turnpike.

It was 40,000 versus one.

“I’m a big one, so that helps," beekeeper Don Shump said.

Armed with only a brush and wearing a bee suit, Don Shump of the Philadelphia Bee Company got to work at the Valley Forge Interchange after countless honey bees invaded the Pennsylvania Turnpike toll plaza.

"This is one of the more interesting ones that we’ve done. You’ll get swarms on bicycles and airplanes from time to time, but this is definitely the first one I’ve had on the toll plaza," Shump said.

The massive swarm shifted toll collectors and turned two lanes into EZ Pass only.

“People were driving up to the toll booth and giving them a heads up, they actually saw the swarm come down the highway with the cars and then landed up here on the toll booth," Shump said.

Shump said removing the queen was the key to clearing the cluster.

He used a box as the new hive.

“Once we get it into a hive and we can seal the hive up, we leave an entrance open most of the other bees will start smelling the queen and fly into the box," he said.

But not all the bees bought into the game plan, because the queen’s scent was still around the toll plaza.

“There are no real way to get all of them, but over the next few hours to a day or two the smell is going to diminish and the bees will fly hopefully back to the hive they came from," Shump said.

Shump said swarming becomes more common as the temperature rises.

Fortunately, this swarm stung less than the toll.

"When they are swarming, they’re really gentle. They’re not a sting threat. You could stick your hand reasonably into a swarm and not get stung as long as you did it slowly," Shump said.

The bees will now be put to work doing what they do best, producing honey.

So like many things that end up in the supermarket, they took the turnpike to get there.

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