Honey bee swarm at Iolani Palace creates hours-long spectacle

Honey bee swarm at Iolani Palace creates hours-long spectacle
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A swarm of honey bees surrounded a truck near Iolani Palace grounds on Monday, creating quite a spectacle for passersby.

The bees showed up early in the morning. Palace personnel discovered a colony coating a parking pole in the F section of the parking lot.

Something disturbed the insects and they moved to the truck, swarming it and crowding underneath.

The swarm amazed visitor Amy Knox. "I'm going to take a photo!" she said.

A large area was cordoned off with caution tape as experts sought to move the bees.

Fortunately, no one was stung.

Max Towey, who owns Kailua bee rescue and removal company Meli, was called in to deal with the situation.

"We try to capture them and relocate them to a place where they're not a danger to the general public and they can just be bees and support our agriculture," he said.

There have been a few bee swarms on Oahu this year. One was at the University of Hawaii. Another was outside the court house in Kapolei.

"This is about a mid-size swarm," Towey said, of the cluster at the palace.

In Hawaii, honey bee swarms happen year-round, but the insects are most active during the summer.

"At this time it's just beginning," Towey said. "We can expect a lot more swarms."

Palace visitor Mike Grady couldn't believe his eyes when he spotted the bees.

"I thought there were leaves that were coming off of the trees. Then I noticed that they were actually bees.  A lot of them," he said.

Palace visitor Chelsea Thorowgood was also in awe.

"I've never seen anything like that before," she said.

Towey said the bees at the palace weren't aggressive, but honey bees can be if they feel threatened.

He said if you encounter a swarm, remain calm and call a bee expert.

"Don't get too excited. Move slowly out of their way. They're more interested in setting up than bothering with you," he said.

The Iolani Palace bees were taken to a remote spot in Waimanalo and released.  There are several honey bee colonies on the palace grounds.

Copyright 2016 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.