It was burgers and bees at Mr. B's

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 10, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Customers were abuzz at Mr. B's Burger Pub Tuesday evening after a swarm of bees parked themselves in a small tree outside the Pantego restaurant.

"It was just amazing -- this big clump of bees," said Craig Driskell, who arrived with his family at the restaurant Tuesday evening to find Mr. B's owner, Jan Bentley, standing outside and cautioning patrons about the bees. "There wasn't a honey comb. They were just piled on top of another. The queen was supposedly in the middle. It was nothing but bees."

Vicki Serenil, the owner's daughter, said a customer alerted her to the swarm about 5:30 p.m. at the restaurant at 2578 W. Pioneer Parkway.

"They weren't there when the customer came in," Serenil said. "Like 30 minutes later, when the customer went out, he called me outside and I was like, 'Whoa!' They came that fast."

Serenil called 911 but dispatchers said they couldn't help since no one had been stung. She then tried animal rescue but found they were closed for the night.

Bentley alerted the property owner.

"He said, 'Well, I called somebody and they thought I was being funny, saying there's bees at Mr. B's.'" Bentley said. "He said, 'I'm not being funny!'"

In the end, a customer googled area beekeepers and soon Richard Garcia of the family-owned business Bee Charmer came to the rescue.

Garcia estimates there were about 1,800 honey bees in the football-sized clump.

"It's swarming season right now so the bees are coming from another hive that they've outgrown," Garcia said.

Double the size of the other bees but with the same-sized wings, the queen bee "can't fly as much as the other ones or as long," Garcia said.

"When she gets heavy, she falls. The other bees catch her and then they all rest," Garcia said.

He said the swarm can remain in its resting spot for a few days while a handful of the bees, serving as scouts, check out the area close by for a good place to create a hive.

After ushering curious customers back into the burger joint, Garcia used a special vacuum cleaner to suck up the bees. When the weather improves, he'll release them on the family's property in Boyd to see if they'll take to another hive or perhaps set up a new hive.

"We'll give them a home if they want it," Garcia said.

As Garcia worked at removing the bees, customers shot video and photos on their cellphones from inside the restaurant.

"You should have seen how smudgy the windows were after it was done because everybody was just piled against it," said Driskell, whose 10-year-old daughter, Katie, was credited as the first customer to make the connection between the visiting insects and the restaurant's name.

"People in the restaurant kept saying, 'You should charge for entertainment,'" Driskell said. "It was one of the most memorable dining experiences we've had in a long time."

Deanna Boyd, (817) 390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd

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2578 W. Pioneer Parkway, Pantego, TX
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