June 9, 2009

Bees swarm Kansas City ballpark

Bee swarms have become so common in Kansas City two have had to be removed from the stadium where the Kansas City Royals play.

Both swarms were captured May 29 before a crowd of baseball fans arrived to watch the Royals play the Chicago White Sox, The Kansas City Star reported Tuesday.

Rheuben Johnson of A-Bee's Honeybee Removal said there were about 75,000 bees in a swarm near the right field gate, one of the biggest he has encountered. The other, on a camera behind home plate, had about 50,000 insects.

Experts say the swarms may be a sign that honeybees in Missouri and the United States are recovering from two problems, mites and colony collapse disorder. The first is more common in wild bees, the second in domesticated ones.

Bees afflicted with the mysterious colony collapse disorder simply take off, leaving honey and unhatched eggs behind. Normal swarming occurs when a colony outgrows its hive.

Robert Hughes, a beekeeper in the area, said it is too soon to tell if bees are making a comeback.

With beekeeping, it's kind of like farming, Hughes said. One year you get a bumper crop, some years you hit a drought.