A man was forced to call a beekeeper after a swarm of 20,000 honey bees descended on his car’s number plate.
Jon Tribbeck, 51, was alerted by a neighbour who noticed the infestation and was shocked when he saw how many bees were covering the rear of his vehicle.
It is not clear why the bees swarmed Jon’s Audi S3, which was parked against a kerb outside his house in Boscombe Down, Wiltshire.
The swarm was described as a “black cloud” which appeared like “something out of a horror film”.
Jon, a self-employed electrical contractor, called a local beekeper who eventually located the Queen and re-homed the bees.
The dad-of-two said: “It was about nine o’clock in the morning when a neighbour knocked on my door and asked, ‘Have you seen your car?’
“I found out later that they had hovered over some neighbours’ lawns earlier that morning. They said it was like a black cloud, and one woman told me her room went dark when they passed her window.
“People were knocking all day asking if I’d seen my car. I was in complete shock.
“It’s not something you expect to see when you step out of the door in the morning. My sister said it looked like something out of a horror film.
“I’ve certainly never seen anything like it before. There’s nothing special about the plate – it’s not even personalised.
“Some people said that if I drove the car they would all fly away, but I told them the bees were in for the long haul.”
Jon got in touch with beekeeper Mike Gibbs, from the nearby town of Wilton who rushed to assist the stranded honey bees.
The beekeeper said: “Swarming is an occupational hazard in beekeeping.
“They can pick anywhere that takes their fancy. Normally they choose low-hanging trees but sometimes they will pick an unusual spot.
“It had been raining a lot and they were probably looking for some shelter – the ones right up in the plate were bone dry.
“The Queen is always at the middle of the swarm, so I just grabbed handful after handful of bees and put them in a box until I located her.
“Then I flipped the box on its lid, made a hole for them to enter and just helped them migrate into the box.”
He transported the bees to a hive at one of his apiaries in Downton and left them to build a hive.
Mike also stressed the importance of keeping bees alive as populations are declining rapidly.
He added: “I lost 75 per cent of my colonies over the winter just gone.
“I don’t know how it will end up, but we should all be worried about bees and take the decline seriously. We need bees.”
Though the bees eventually left their new temporary home, Jon admits that he did worry he would never get his car back.
He said: “I did start to wonder if I was ever going to get the car back or if it was gone for good.
“The day after Mike took them there were still a few hundred stragglers which were attracted by the scent left by the Queen.”