Brewer News

Brewer officer rescues Bangor cops from Ohio Street bee swarm


Courtesy Bangor Police Department
Cpl. Amy Nickerson, a Brewer police officer — and beekeeper in her spare time — helps to move a hive from an Ohio Street tree in a screenshot of a video the Bangor Police Department posted on Friday, July 7, 2017.

A Brewer police officer this week came to the rescue of Queen City law enforcement officers plagued by stinging insects nesting in a small tree along a busy section of Ohio Street.

Cpl. Amy “Bee Whisperer” Nickerson, a beekeeper in her spare time, donned her protective gear and placed an empty hive under the tree so the bees would have a new home, according to a post on the Bangor Police Department’s Facebook page.

Bangor officers captured the operation from the safety of an enclosed cruiser. Lt. Tim Cotton, the department’s Facebook guru, posted it Friday morning.

When a colony grows rapidly in the spring and new queens are being nurtured, a mature queen will lead about half the worker bees to a new location, likely explaining the swarm in the tree, said Peter Cowin, president of the Penobscot County Beekeepers Association. The swarm usually settles temporarily at a location between five feet and a quarter of a mile from its hive.

The bees, which swarm this time of year, may stay in that temporary location anywhere from a few hours to several days, he said.

“They then send out scouts to look for a new permanent home, usually within a half- to a one-mile radius,” he said Thursday.

Cowan said Nickerson saved the bees from looking for a new home.

The bees are seen in the video clinging to a branch and trunk of a small tree growing in an area between the sidewalk and the street.

As Nickerson shakes the tree limb, some of the insects obediently fall into the hive box. Others angrily surround Nickerson before deciding whether to rejoin the colony or to strike out on their own.

Cotton wrote in the Facebook post that “Special Enforcement Team members Officers Jimmy ‘That’ Burns and Evan ‘Eddie’ Haskell encountered the swarm while patrolling the West Side of Bangor.

“The duo could not keep up their relentless crime reduction strategies on Ohio Street due to the fact that every time they stopped a car, the pursued driver would pull over near this tree,” Cotton said. “That happened to be where the bees were. Haskell said he did not want to get all ‘red and stingy.’”

Nickerson was off Friday, most likely helping the Bangor bees settle into their new surroundings in an undisclosed location.

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted July 07, 2017, at 4 p.m.
Last modified July 07, 2017, at 7:55 p.m.