ST. LOUIS – It’s unbee-lievable! Usually all are welcome at All Souls Catholic Parish, but not the swarm of 20,000 honey bees that were found in the upstairs rectory.

Shockingly, the hive is only considered medium-sized, according to St. Louis beekeeper Aaron Bennett.

Priscilla Rivera is the parish business manager, saying the parish priest kept hearing the bees at night, mistaking them for his AC unit. But as soon as they started seeing bees outside the window, parish secretary Brenda Rivera said they knew there was a swarm present.

“As soon as you go into the doorway, you could hear (them), they were pretty loud, they were just buzzing away,” Priscilla said.

The parish called Bennett to safely remove and rehome these insects to one of his many apiaries. The process involves multiple steps, including establishing where the hive is based on thermal imaging, then marking the wall and cutting the hive out.

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Bennett commented, “We cut as much as we need to to get the entire hive out and remove all the honeycomb, and then we have a special bee vacuum that we use to vacuum all the bees up safely with before sealing it back up.”

After several hours of hard labor and disrupting church activities, there was one sweet outcome, honey! 50 pounds of honey, to be exact.

“It’s the best honey I’ve ever had,” Priscilla said.

While there’s always the danger of being stung, Aaron said it comes with the territory, but he felt a presence of blessing among the buzzing.

“You know God is an important part of my life and yeah, this was a pivotal extraction. An honor to come and do it for the church,” he said.