Bees Seek Sanctuary In Caldwell Church

CALDWELL, Kan. (CBS) _ First Presbyterian Church in Caldwell is creating quite a buzz. About a week ago, a church custodian noticed pools of liquid in the Sunday school rooms. Once she started cleaning it up, she discovered it was honey.

That's when church members realized bees were congregating near the rafters. But the majority of the insects were outside the building near the roof. Beekeeper Ferald Hoover says new bees found an old colony inside the walls of the church and built it up. He estimates 60,000 to 70,000 bees had made the church home.

The colony was so large that honey had started dripping down the walls near the church alter and saturated parts of the sanctuary.

"Instead of having bats in our belfry - we had bees in our belfry," laughed church member LuAnn Jamison.

After consulting Hoover to make sure it was safe, Pastor Bob Barrett held church last Sunday. Hoover wouldn't be out to remove the bees until the following Friday but told Barrett "as long as you don't bother them, they won't bother you."

"I announced to the congregation if anyone took off during my sermon I wouldn't be offended," said Barrett.

But on Friday, once Hoover started the work of removing the bees, it was a different story. The bees became irritated as Hoover worked. They stung Hoover through his bee suit more than 20 times and attacked the rest of us standing around watching. The bees apparently didn't learn to 'love thy enemy' in church and continued to go after Pastor Barrett. He was stung about 20 times but kept a sense of humor about the ordeal. Yours truly was stung on the face (of course the face!). Luckily, none of us swelled up like Martin Short in the movie Pure Luck!

Hoover pulled out 40 pounds of honey from the colony and removed the rest of the bees. The church will have to clean and seal the area so the bees don't return. But at least church members will have a good story to buzz about once the bees are gone.


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