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By SUSAN LEATHERS

Brentwood Home Page

Something’s buzzing in Crockett Park and BHP reader Mary Lee Hudson wants to know what it is. She contacted us last week to ask, “Can you find out what’s going on with this new bee cage close to the small restrooms in Crockett Park? Thousands of bees are swarming as you go by the sidewalk….”

By SUSAN LEATHERS

Brentwood Home Page

Something’s buzzing in Crockett Park and BHP reader Mary Lee Hudson wants to know what it is. She contacted us last week to ask, “Can you find out what’s going on with this new bee cage close to the small restrooms in Crockett Park? Thousands of bees are swarming as you go by the sidewalk.  I don’t think the bees know to stay to the left of the orange screen.”

To answer “What’s Up with That? we went to the city’s parks department and assistant director Erin Kiney had the answer.

Actually the bee problem started several years ago when honey bees took up residence in a tree located about two feet off the bike trail between the park’s multi-purpose field No. 6 and the shelter restrooms.  At that time, a beekeeper got as many of the bees out of the tree as he could and installed a screen that kept them from re-entering the tree.

Kiney says she’s not sure what happened to the screen, but it recently disappeared “and sure enough, the bees are back in the tree.”

Hoping to eradicate the bees once and for all, she contacted the Nashville Beekeeper’s Association to discuss options. That’s when she learned it is now federal law that you can’t kill honeybees. Two options remained:

  • Relocate the bees
  • Cut down the tree and relocate the bees

The city has opted for Option 1, but that’s not an easy option. It took calls to multiple beekeepers before Kiney found one available for the job. That’s where the orange fence comes in.

Using a process called “trapping out,” the beekeeper has installed a specialized cone that allows the bees to leave the tree but not return. He has also installed a bait hive nearby where they will relocate.

“The intent is that the bees find a new home,” Kiney said.  “Eventually the queen goes ‘hmmmm’” and wonders where all of her bees have gone. Eventually, she leaves too. “And then the beekeeper comes and relocates the bait trap.”

Obviously the orange fencing has been installed around the area to keep the curious away. But less obvious, Kiney explained, is that the beekeeper has told parks staff that the bees intrinsically won’t fly through a fence, but instead will fly over it.

“This is the premise we’re trying,” Kiney said. Hopefully, their flight path will be above the six-foot high temporary fencing and over the heads of walkers and bikers.

The beekeeper is checking the progress every few days. Once he says the queen is out and the tree is clear, the city will seal the tree with concrete or foam to prevent another hive from forming.  

In the meantime, parkgoers should approach the area with caution while the bees are relocating, Kiney says. “The beekeeper tells us that honeybees are pretty docile and are used to people, so unless you really threaten those bees, you’re going to be OK.”

So, Mary Lou, that’s What’s Up with That.  Do you have a question? Email us at news@brentwoodhomepage.com and put What’s Up with That in your subject line.

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