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Video: Massive Swarm Of Bees Rescued In West Loop

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jun 27, 2016 9:53PM

Another day, another massive swarm of bees in the city.

This latest instance happened Friday afternoon right in the heart of the West Loop, near North Morgan Street. and West Fulton Market. Westside Bee Boyz were summoned to the scene where they secured the swarm, showing as much composure as we showed teeth-gritting anxiety while viewing this video. They estimate some 40,000 bees were rescued. One particular move—shaking the bee-covered branch inside a bucket—is particularly amazing.

The man seen pulling off the job is Naaman Gambill, of Westside Bee Boyz. Gambilll grew up on small family farm, south of Terre Haute, IN, that kept bees. A former beekeeper at Garfield Park Conservatory, he's been doing this line of work in the city since in 2010.

There's no one way to accomplish the job, he told Chicagoist. "Every situation is unique since they congregate on all kinds of different things. Its unique to each experience."

"We rented a box truck to brace the ladder against it. It was either that our cut down a limb. Beekeeping books might say spread a big sheet under, cut the limb, have it crash to the ground, tidy everything up. Pull it into a hive. But then you have to call the city, public works, and jump through those hoops.

Yep, Gambill preferred to shake the swarm into a bucket than deal with the city, Who can blame him?

This, of course, isn't the first high-profile swarm-spotting of the summer. But Gambill thinks it's more a matter of people happening to notice rather than an outlying spike. "In the northern Illinois beekeeping community, a buddy in McKendree County said their swarm season started way earlier. So it's interesting to see how it develops. What's making us more aware is that these swarms have happened in prominent places."

"People are going to be talking about it more if it's the West Loop rather than an abandoned building on the South Side."

The video was uploaded by Moshe Tamssot, a local amateur beekeeper, who fielded a call from Brian Fitzpatrick, Chief Technology Officer with restaurant-ticketing pioneers Tock, after he noticed the swarm.

After a tip from Jana Kinsman (Bike a Bee) that the bees could either vacate any moment or possibly stay for several days, Tamssot then rounded up some of the necessary equipment and reached out to Gambill to undertake the task.

Adding to the team effort was Jason Kim, whose family runs a local food distribution company nearby. He made arrangements for the Penske truck and generously donated cash for the operation.

As Tamssot reminds in the video description, the best approach is to stay calm, and remember that bees are at their most passive when swarming. “Don't freak out. Don’t harass the bees. Call a beekeeper. And everything will be alright.”