A bee is tiny. But when hundreds swarm and cling on a single tree branch, it’s a sizeable difference.
“It looks like a koala bear to me,” said Martha Bradley, owner of Merle Norman Cosmetics in Roseburg.
Bradley was glancing Wednesday afternoon at a tree across the street from her store in the 600 block of Southeast Jackson Street. Like the other merchants and passers-by stopped on the sidewalk, Bradley was looking at a mass of bees conjoined in a tree on the sidewalk.
“I have never seen anything like this,” said Cheryl Allen, owner of the Blackbird Bar and Grill. “It’s absolutely amazing.”
Bradley said the bees first got her attention around 2 p.m. “I could hear them before I could see them,” she said.
When she walked outside her store, she said she saw hundreds of bees swarming from the top of the tree down to the sidewalk and two-thirds across Jackson Street.
“Bees were falling off of the branch,” she said. “One car had a lot of bees on it.”
Bradley said it’s common to see bees on the historic Kohlhagen building, right by the tree, but she’s never seen them heaped together.
“It was quite something,” she said.
Justin Hall and girlfriend Sasha Hogg live in an apartment in the Kohlhagen building.
Hogg said the air was thick with bees before the insects retreated to the tree.
“If you walked down the street, you were walking through bees,” she said.
Hall said bees were swarming parked cars, including his. “They were dripping off trees,” he said.
Bradley contacted Douglas County beekeeper Ed Jones, who was due to arrive in the evening. In the meantime, Hawks Realty Co. set out chairs underneath the tree to prevent motorists from parking near the cluster.
Staff at the real estate business said there was a similar mass of bees on trees in the street block two years ago to the day. Efforts to reach Jones today were unsuccessful, but the bees were gone.
•You can reach reporter Christina George at 541-957-4202 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.