PHOTO: Hundreds of Bees Swarm Australian Driver’s BMW While on the Highway

by Amy Myers
Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images

An Australian motorist noticed that the car in front of them had a strange mass covering the license plate. Once it began to move, the driver realized that it was a giant swarm of bees clinging to the vehicle.

The bizarre bee sighting first broke the news on the Melbourne radio station 3AW. Jeff, the motorist responsible for the photo, called in to share his story, noting that he ended up behind the swarm of pollinators on the Nepean Highway.

At first, he thought the X4 was just in need of a good wash.

“I saw this X4 in front of me and I thought, ‘Well, this guy or this person doesn’t look after their X4 very well,’” Jeff recalled.

Once he got closer, though, he realized that was no patch of mud on the car. It was a huge swarm of bees. Naturally, he had to snap a photo of the strange gathering.

What was even more interesting was how the bees behaved as the car stopped and started. When the driver in front of him hit the brakes, Jeff noted that dozens of bees would begin to fly away.

“As it started to drive off again the bees would come back again,” he continued.

Jeff said he followed the car for roughly six miles. It’s not clear whether the X4 driver was aware of the gathering on their trunk or if the swarm was still there by the time they parked.

Swarm of Bees Were Likely Looking For New Hive Location

The most common and logical conclusion for this odd encounter is that a honey bee colony was seeking out a new location for a hive. Worker bees will initiate this process, separating from an existing hive to create a new colony with the existing queen. They begin to canvas different areas in groups as large as 20,000, clinging to an object in one fuzzy cluster, according to UCANR. Some worker bees may separate from this new group (as Jeff witnessed when the car stopped) to seek out other locations. Once the scouts settle on a location they like, they return to the main swarm and perform a kind of dance that alerts the rest of their news.

Though it may seem frightening to find such a huge group of bees, vibrating, moving and collecting, these swarms are harmless, for the most part. That said, the X4 motorist definitely needed to remove or encourage the bees to find another location before they began constructing an actual hive, at which point the colony may become more aggressive.

Hopefully, for the sake of these vital pollinators, he contacted a beekeeper or bee remover to help safely transport the queen and her workers to a more fitting environment.