Bees attack! Colony swarms Ramsey, forcing residents inside
RAMSEY — A beekeeper and his wife were hospitalized Saturday after their colony became aggressive and swarmed part of Ramsey.
Police Chief Bryan Gurney told The Record on Saturday it's unclear what angered the colony, but he was concerned and planning to subdue or destroy the bees.
"There is a park across the street," the chief told the paper. "I'm very concerned about it. These things are obviously very aggressive."
He said the husband and wife were stung multiple times and sent to Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, according to the report. Several responding officers were stung as well — the chief was stung in the temple, the report says.
Ramsey's Office of Emergency Management first warned people of the swarm at about 2 p.m. Saturday, saying in a Facebook post the bees were swarming near Martis and Elizabeth Avenues.
"Please try to stay clear of the area and if you live in the area stay indoors and close all windows and garage doors," the OEM wrote.
It later said the bees were "aggressive and have dispersed throughout the area of Martis, Elizabeth, Rose, Refy, Armstrong and Maple," and said it didn't know what prompted the bees to become aggressive.
Gurney told NJ.com the swarm appeared to have dispersed by Saturday evening.
According to "Bees and Beekeeping: Science Practice and World Resources," Honeybees typically only attack to defend their colonies. But it says they can also be provoked by outside stimulus they may mistake for mamals, including vibratons, dark colors, carbon dioxide and hair. African honeybees are more prone to sting than other bees.
Beekeepers David and Sheri Burns of Illinois say on their website, Honeybeesonline.com, bees can become more aggressive in the heat and humidity, and when colonies are close to their maximum populations. They say there's a particularly high risk during the late summer and fall.
Some residents writing on the Ramsey OEM page said they had trouble making sense of the attack.
"That doesn't make any sense. I have over 90 hives," David Leshinsky wrote. "Unless they were Africanized, they would not chase you that far from the hive. Maybe a couple of hundred feet. Even if you kicked the hive over and even then if left alone they would all go back to the hive and hang there unless they were just looking for food."
— With information from the Associated Press
More from New Jersey 101.5: