WESTFIELD - Contractors working on a home in Westfield didn't realize what they were getting into when they tore down a wall and found some unwelcome guests.
Beekeeper Mickey Hegedus was called to the Cabral family's home when swarms of bees began to emerge from the house. Hegedus estimates more than 60,000 had taken up residence there.
But Hegedus, a third generation beekeeper, says he was up to the task. "This is probably the biggest colony I've taken out of a house, especially in Westfield," he says. "And it's wonderful to see them this healthy."
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The beekeeper says the honey bee population is dwindling and that the breed is now protected. Hegedus points out that bees impact the human population, as well.
"Almost one-third of everything we eat is pollenated by honey bees," Hegedus says. "Fruit and vegetables … so, without them, we are in serious trouble."
Hegedus is removing the bees and their hive from the house with a special vacuum.
The beekeeper is taking all the bees he can save to a new colony he's setting up at a Roselle Park church. He says their honey can be eaten right off the comb and wants to remind people that the insect only becomes defensive when they feel threatened.