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Bees swarm home

By JULIAN CAVAZOS
March 25, 2009 at 9:02 p.m.
Updated March 24, 2009 at 10:25 p.m.


Imagine having more than 3,000 bees swarm the windows of your living room.

Victoria resident Jean Frankenburger, 86, experienced that on Wednesday.

"It's been quite an exciting day," she said.

Frankenburger woke up at 9:30 to prepare for her doctor's appointment an hour later.

"I was in the kitchen and I kept hearing this buzzing sound, which I had heard before," she said.

She saw two piles of bees on the top right corners of two windows. One pile was about a foot long and three inches wide.

The second pile was the size of two fist fulls, she said.

"I had to just leave them flying around in the house," she said, explaining she still attended her doctor's appointment.

Bees had entered her home during the past few months.

"I've been seeing them for the past six months," she said. "There's been five or nine of them that have been coming in. I would catch them and scoot them outside."

But Frankenburger wasn't scared of bees. Her father, John Miller, was a beekeeper in Corpus Christi.

"I just grew up with them," she said. Her father was involved with bees until age 88. "He raised queen bees and sold them all over the country. I wasn't interested in them the same way Daddy was, but I still like them."

Frankenburger was placed in contact with Oscar Perez, a beekeeper from Westhoff. Rather than exterminating bees, he preserves them.

"I'll put those in a box, and put those with some other bees," Perez. "I just basically shake them off into that box."

Perez will use the bees to make honey.

Springtime is when the busiest time of year begins for beekeepers, Perez said.

"We're going to start getting people calling in for bees," he said. "It's not unusual for this time of year."

The beekeeper discovered small holes a quarter of an inch wide in several places along Frankenburger's chimney.

Bees slipped in and out of those entries several at a time.

"If there's anything larger than a quarter of an inch, the queen can get in there," he said. "If she can't get in there, the workers won't even consider it home. But if she can, then they can make a home out of that."

The queen will then start making cells for new baby bees, he said.

Most of the bees were cleared out by Wednesday evening, with only a few left flying around Frankenburger's home.

The experience will continue to cause her to reflect upon her father.

"I'll bet my dad is sitting in heaven just laughing his head off," she said, laughing.

Bee safety tips:

Honey bees are harmless. They don't bother you if you don't bother them.

Don't panic if they land on you. Swatting at them might provoke them to sting you.

If you notice them attacking you, the best thing to do is ease in out of their way.

Look around your home for small holes a quarter of an inch or larger. These entries are large enough for a queen bee to enter and begin establishing a colony.

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