FOLLY BEACH -- John and Betty Davis were puttering around their house when they first spotted the buzzing black swarm heading toward them on a Saturday morning.
Thousands of honey bees suddenly dropped out of the sky and landed on the side deck of their East Huron Avenue home.
"I was brushing my teeth when they showed up," John Davis said, recalling the May 22 touchdown. "They landed right next to the door, and the whole area was just covered with this great big pile of bees swirling around."
The couple watched, dumbfounded, as the bees moved toward their house and appeared to vanish beneath the siding. The pile grew smaller and smaller, until only a few bees remained on the deck.
The Davises assumed the rest had taken up residence in their walls. "We didn't know what to do," John Davis said.
They first decided to call a few beekeepers. Some suggested that the swarm was on its way somewhere and had stopped for a rest -- a bee layover of sorts. Others thought the bees had something a little more permanent in mind.
The Davises called Folly Beach's animal control office, but the city had only a police officer to send. The officer didn't know what to do, so they called Carol Linville, founder of Pet Helpers.
The situation was a bit outside her experience, but she made some calls and found Scott Biering, owner of Bee-Gone, a bee removal firm.
The Davises were pleased to learn that Biering didn't have to kill the bees to get rid of them. "They'd come and go, but they really didn't bother us," John Davis said. "Nobody's been stung while they were here."
Suited in protective gear, Biering did some poking around Tuesday and found an estimated 25,000 bees hunkered down in the ceiling of a utility room under the Davises' bungalow. He cut a hole and spotted several active honeycombs.
"It was amazing to see what the bees had done in such a short time," Linville said. "The honey was just dripping out of those combs."
Little by little, Biering removed the bees and placed them in a temporary hive. The colony, along with its queen, will spend some time in quarantine and likely will end up with a beekeeper on Johns Island, Biering said.
Biering said it's not all that unusual this time of year for swarms of bees to break off from overcrowded hives and go looking for new digs. They probably would prefer a hollow tree, but man's encroachment has caused the valuable pollinators to look elsewhere, in places like the Davises' home, he said.
The Davises didn't seem to mind too much, and even kept a couple of combs to remember their guests. "We had a little taste," John Davis said. "It was great, real sweet."