It’s enough to give you nightmares. Or inspire a horror movie.
Dominica van der Ploeg headed into Braddon on Saturday (6 November) for a massage, parking her car on Lonsdale Street. The trip was designed to relieve stress. But then she returned to her car.
“I came out and could see a cloud of bees and I just went, ‘oh gosh, that’s a lot of bees’ and then, ‘oh sh-t, they’re on my car!'”
“I probably needed another massage after that,” said Ms van der Ploeg with a laugh.
With her doors and windows covered by the bees, a crowd gathered around her. She panicked and she pondered what to do.
It was then a mystery woman appeared out of the crowd of people boasting a rare and bizarre ability.
“A stranger just told me: ‘hey, bees don’t sting me!’ She literally just waved them away from the door.
“My door and window were absolutely covered, and she just waved them away, and I managed to get into the car somehow without a single bee getting in there,” said Ms van der Ploeg.
Once in her car, she carefully drove with the bees still on her windscreen around Ainslie and Dickson. One by one, the bees flew off. By the time she arrived home, they’d all buzzed off.
She says the photo of the windscreen does not do justice to the true severity of the situation. She estimates thousands of bees were on her car.
After parking her car under a tree earlier in the day, Ms van der Ploeg noticed a sticky substance had dripped onto her vehicle. She said it wasn’t anything too significant but merely a few droplets. It’s believed this is what attracted the bees onto her car later that day.
Ms van der Ploeg said she wouldn’t have left her car for much longer than two hours in an incident that has scarred her from parking outdoors in the future.
“I’m going to be very careful to make sure I don’t park under a tree if I can. I don’t really know which trees create deposits like that, but I’m just going to be very careful now and just try parking underground where I can,” she said.
Secretary of the Canberra Region Beekeepers Association Thilak Mallawaarachchi said it has been an “unusually active year for swarming”.
“There’s so much food around, and therefore all the bees are breaking up and creating new families,” said Mr Mallawaarachchi.
Regarding how to deal with bee swarm, he says that if there are less than 10 bees, spraying them with water can encourage them to fly away. For any more than 10 bees, he suggested contacting one of the ACT’s swarm collectors, which can be found on the Canberra Region Beekeepers website.