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As Bee Situation Resolves, Catawba Resumes Using Its Robertson College-Community Center

June 12, 2015

Category: Events

honeybee15.jpg  The European honeybee (Apis mellifera) is
North Carolina's state insect.

It has been a month since a very large infestation of honey bees located in the walls of Keppel Auditorium forced Catawba College to relocate its commencement exercises and cancel several other events planned in its Robertson College-Community Center. This weekend, after receiving the green light from Animal Control Experts (A.C.E.), the College will again be using the building, beginning with activities planned by Tar Heel Girls State. Tar Heel Girls State will be holding its weeklong camp at Catawba for the 14th year June 14-20.

After performing an on-site inspection on Wednesday, June 10, biologist Bryan Bosley of A.C.E. declared the building “safe for personal and commercial use.”  He said the bee activity at the building was declining and the swarms of bees seen around the exterior of the building in mid-May had ceased.

Bosley’s company has installed several excluders at different exterior locations on upper level of the College-Community Center. These excluders allow worker bees to leave the hive that is located within the upper walls of the building but prevent these bees from returning to it.  An artificial hive is located on the roof to capture these displaced bees for relocation off campus.

During his visit to campus this week, Bosley declared the process was working, but noted that it was progressing on the bees’ and not the humans’ timeframe. He called the hive located in the building the largest he had ever encountered in a commercial building.

Catawba agreed to pay A.C.E. more than $30,000 to non-lethally remove the honey bee population from its building, seal off all entry points to the hive, and assure that no honey bee activity would reoccur at the site for two years. Such an agreement resulted in a longer time frame for removal of the infestation, but assured that several hundred thousands of the bees would be successfully relocated.

In the weeks ahead, college officials and representatives from A.C.E. will continue to monitor the bee activity at the Robertson College-Community Center and relocate bees as the need arises.