Woman accused of unleashing bees on sheriff’s deputies during Western Mass. eviction

The woman allegedly toppled a hive before donning a beekeeper suit and carrying bees close to the home's front door.

Rorie Susan Woods (center), 55, was arrested Oct. 12 after allegedly releasing a swarm of bees upon sheriff's deputies trying to enforce an eviction in Longmeadow. Courtesy Photo/Hampden County Sheriff’s Office

A Hadley woman is facing assault charges after allegedly unleashing a swarm of bees on sheriff’s deputies as they attempted to enforce an eviction last week.

Deputies were met with a cluster of protesters when they arrived at the $1.5 million Longmeadow home on Oct. 12 to enforce an eviction, according to MassLive

Rorie Susan Woods, 55, allegedly pulled up to the scene in an SUV towing bee hives and began trying to open the hives to unleash the bees, the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

“A Sheriff’s deputy tried to stop her, but as the agitated bees started getting out and circling the area, he pulled back,” officials said. “She then smashed the lid, and flipped a hive off of the flatbed, making the bees extremely aggressive. They swarmed the area and stung several officers and other innocent bystanders who were nearby.”

Rorie Susan Woods attempting to open a hive. – Courtesy Photo/Hampden County Sheriff’s Office

Woods then donned a professional beekeeper suit and carried a tower of bees near the front door of the home in an attempt to stop the eviction, the sheriff’s office said. 


According to a 2021 op-ed she penned for the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Woods is a veteran beekeeper who keeps honey bees in Northampton, MassLive reported. 

Sheriff Nick Cocchi said Woods’s actions “put lives in danger,” as several staff members who were at the scene are allergic to bees. 

“We had one staff member go the hospital and luckily, he was alright or she would be facing manslaughter charges,” Cocchi said in a statement. 

Woods was arrested after carrying a bee hive close to the home and allegedly trying to agitate the bees further. 

“I support people’s right to protest peacefully but when you cross the line and put my staff and the public in danger, I promise you will be arrested,” Cocchi said.

Woods is charged with four counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, three counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, and disorderly conduct. She was released on personal recognizance, and court records show that a pretrial hearing is scheduled for Dec. 9, The Boston Globe reported. 

Her attorney, Stephen H. Newman, did not immediately respond to Boston.com’s request for comment.


Robert Hoffman, chief deputy of the sheriff’s department’s Civil Process Office, said he’d never seen something like this before. He said the department tries to help everyone it is court-ordered to evict, even earning national attention for its “humane” approach. 

“I’m just thankful no one died because bee allergies are serious,” Hoffman said in a statement. “I hope that these out-of-county protesters will reconsider using such extreme measures in the future because they will be charged and prosecuted.” 


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