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Pair of bee swarms not unusual, experts say

Two groups of bees, found in Forest Grove the same weekend, are a natural phenomenon
by: Chase Allgood, Forest Grove beekeeper Bert Swanepoel handles bees found near Bi-Mart.

No, really. Let me tell you about the birds and the bees, and the flowers and the trees - for the ditty speaks truth.

Come springtime, around when the hardwoods flower, bees get the urge. Not only to reproduce individual bees, but entire colonies. The old queen bee will go one way, a new queen another.

And what do we see? Swarms!

Just last weekend there were at least two swarms of bees discovered within the city limits of Forest Grove, one found Friday evening near an apartment about a block behind Bi-Mart and another Saturday morning in the front yard of a private residence not far from Rogers Park.

But there was nothing to fear. These bees had no home to protect and had fattened up on honey while looking for a new one.

Enter the bee experts.

Both swarms were removed by local beekeepers who independently described the swarms as 'docile.'

'When they're just a ball, hanging from a tree branch, a swarm of bees is very easy to remove,' said Todd Balsiger, owner of Hood to Coast Honey, based in Forest Grove.

The other keeper, Bert Swanepoel, who learned about beekeeping in South Africa with the far more aggressive Africanized bees, didn't so much as don a protective mask. He wore shorts and a short-sleeve shirt, though he did put on gloves when he scooped up the bees and placed them in a hive.

'I love bees, and I know that I will get stung, maybe,' he said. 'So to me it doesn't matter.'

Perhaps these bees were humming the old song, particularly the part about 'that thing called love' - because Swanepoel didn't get stung this time around.