A grandmother plagued by a huge swarm of bees for more than 24 hours while driving her car home from a nature reserve has spoken about the “incredible” ordeal.
Carol Howarth, 65, was amazed when a swarm of over 20,000 insects flew down onto her silver Mitsubishi Outlander, covering the back end of the vehicle.
A team of three beekeepers, a national park ranger and members of the public helped to capture and contain the swarm inside a cardboard box while Mrs Howarth was away from the car shopping.
A beekeeper attempts to move a swarm of bees enveloping a car in a busy town car park Credit: Tom Moses/Mercury Press. The incident happened shortly after she had parked her car in the town centre of Haverfordwest, West Wales, before going shopping at lunchtime on Sunday 22 May. Speaking about the incident on Tuesday, Mrs Howarth said she had “never seen anything like it.”
While she was away from the vehicle, thousands of bees descended on the boot of her car, causing many passers-by to stop and take pictures of the spectacle. Pembrokeshire Coast National Park ranger Tom Moses, 41, raised the alarm when he spotted the swarm on the car parked outside the Three Crowns pub in Haverfordwest.
Concerned that the insects might be destroyed with pesticide, Mr Moses contacted two members of Pembrokeshire Beekeepers’ Association, who came to help capture the swarm. “It was spectacular. I was driving through when I spotted the big brown splodge,” he said.
“A lot of people were really amazed by it, cars were slowing down and people were taking pictures of it.
“I was a little bit concerned, with it being in the middle of town outside a pub, that someone might do something stupid and get hurt or do something stupid and hurt the bees,” he said. “As I drove past I noticed this big brown splodge on the back of a car.
“I had seen swarms before settle on things like this but never one as large as this. It was quite a thing to see - certainly a ‘wow’ moment.
“I was really worried that someone could get hurt by them or that someone might damage them in their bid to clear the car so I stopped to help out.
“It is fair to say I had a sting in the tale - I was stung to my head, neck and the back of my ears. But I took some anti-histamines and they are not too bad now.” However, after returning to her car, Mrs Howarth drove home believing the problem had been resolved, only to discover on Monday morning that the swarm had followed her and were again covering the car.
She was then forced to contact the beekeepers for a second time, who finally managed to remove the swarm for good by 6pm.
“One theory was that the queen was trapped in my car and the swarm were following,” Carol said. “But they couldn’t find the queen anywhere so I’ve no idea if that was right.
“Apparently bees can swarm at this time of the year and it is a very strong instinct for them to follow the queen.”
“I still don’t really understand why because they couldn’t see the queen anywhere. Perhaps they just like the heat of my car.”