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Muhammad Ali Center 'abuzz' with visitors

Published: Jun. 5, 2016 at 3:20 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2016 at 2:48 AM EDT
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A swarm of bees have found themselves a temporary home in a tree that has been planted next to...
A swarm of bees have found themselves a temporary home in a tree that has been planted next to a mural. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Kevin McKinney (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Kevin McKinney (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Ever since news of Muhammad Ali's death Louisville has been abuzz with people, news crews and fans. Especially around the area of the Muhammad Ali Center downtown, where many people have been stopping by to leave flowers and memorabilia in honor of the late hero.

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However, people were not the only visitors near the center.

"They are Apis Mellifera--the honey bee," said Kevin McKinney with the Kentuckiana Bee Keepers Association.

He says a couple of the folks at the association are "on call" for swarm removals throughout the city and Southern Indiana. He was called this morning by a facility manager at the Belvedere for a removal of a swarm near the Ali Center.

This swarm of bees have found themselves a temporary home in a tree that has been planted next to a mural. The kicker to the story? The mural is of the late Muhammad Ali—one that says, "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."

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Why did the winged colony find their temporary home right next to the mural? No body knows. However, McKinney says the coincidence is uncanny.

"The fact that it ended up here, right next to the Muhammad Ali Center, next to a sign that says 'float like a butterfly, sting like a bee' that's completely ironic and it's not lost on me at all," McKinney said with a chuckle.

There was initially speculation that someone had put the bees there as a unique tribute to Ali. However, McKinney says there is absolutely no chance that was the case.

"It's impossible, this is a totally natural phenomenon," McKinney said. "You couldn't force a group of bees into a tree."

McKinney also added that this is already the 8th time he's responded to a swarm removal case, so bee swarms are pretty common at this time of year. But there is no doubt that the choice of location was pleasantly surprising.

"They could have landed anywhere, there are plenty of trees in the neighborhood they could have set up shop in," McKinney said. "They probably landed yesterday afternoon and were resting overnight and I was lucky to catch them this morning."

Whether you believe in the will of the honey bee or not, one thing is a sure fact. 
"This is pretty great." 

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