Let it bee

Bees are the crown jewel of the pollinators, and are critical for sustaining our food system. In the United States approximately one-third of our food crops benefit either directly or indirectly from bee pollination. However, bees also can be a nuisance, especially when they make their homes in inconvenient locations such as our equipment.

But because of the critical role bees play in pollination, PNM removes them (rather than fumigating and killing them) whenever possible. Just last week, we hired a beekeeper to remove a colony of bees from one of our substation buildings in Albuquerque. There are different ways to remove bees depending upon the situation, but in this case, the beekeeper trapped the bees outside their hive.

An exit cone made from screen wire was secured over the entrance to the hive, allowing the bees to exit the hive, but preventing them from getting back in. A second, satellite hive was placed outside the exit cone. When the trapped bees found that they can no longer return to their original hive, they joined the new hive instead. This process took several weeks for all the bees to join the new hive. The new hive (with all the bees inside) was then removed; and the bees were relocated to the beekeeper’s farm and introduced to another bee colony before the winter months.

Many people take up beekeeping as a hobby. Bees will increase pollination in your yard and, therefore, increase your yields from fruit trees and vegetables. Additionally, from the bees’ hive you can harvest honey, beeswax, pollen and propolis (bee glue that seals the hive – it’s high in antioxidants and used in medicine and food).

If you encounter bees, live with them if you can. Bees are needed. Some “Africanized” bees are very aggressive and may sting or swarm you, but most bees are unlikely to sting. However, if they are a nuisance, please contact a professional bee removal service. Check out www.abqbeeks.org for more assistance.

Stephen Saletta | Scientist, Environmental Services
PNM | Albuquerque, NM


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