Maple Tree in FDL is Buzz of the Town - WBAY

Maple Tree in FDL is Buzz of the Town


A Fond du Lac couple had tens of thousands of unwanted visitors over the weekend. But it turns out the visitor's bark was worse than their bite.

Al and Rosalie Otto were wondering what all of the buzz was about in their front yard late last week.

"I come walking down the hallway and I thought why are there brown leaves floating around my yard and I got closer and I said, that's insects. And they were flying so fast you couldn't see what they were," says Rosalie Otto.

Those flying insects ended up being at least a hundred thousand honey bees.

Adds Al Otto, "There were just tens of thousands of them in the air and then they were buzzing around, slowly forming a long column of bees."

The swarm, looking for a new home, took up residency in the Otto's front yard maple tree.

Al Otto says, "Whatever caused them to come here, I don't know. Maybe it was the right place at the right time."

Fearful of the bees at the time, the Otto's called the city that cordoned off the area before sending the Fond du Lac Fire Department to the neighborhood. Members of the fire department have been specially trained to deal with bee situations just like this.

Lt. Todd Shippee from the Fond du Lac Fire Department says, "There's three or four of us on the department that do it as hobby on the side and that's where our level of awareness was raised on bee spills and the number of bees that are out in the community and traveling through communities all the time."

While the fire department doesn't know where the bees came from, they assured the Otto's they weren't harmful and told them to wait a day to see if the bees would move on.

"The bees won't attack on purpose," says Shippee. "But it could be a situation where they drop down on people or someone could be injured near the hive and couldn't escape."

When the honey bees didn't leave, Lt. Shippee returned to the Otto's, removed the bees, and took them to a hive in the country. It's a rescue the Otto's never thought they'd be a part of, but one that taught them a lot.

Laughs Rosalie Otto, "I said I had a little more respect for honey bees now."


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