It will soon be the time of year when trees and flowers are budding, Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes dot the landscape, and the warm sun and smells of Spring are all around us. Yes, this is when our pollinators are very busy performing their work in nature. We have all heard the news stories concerning the rapid reduction in the numbers of honey bees in recent years. Many commercial beekeepers have reported losses of 40% or more in their numbers of hives. Factors such as bees coming in contact with pesticides used to treat crop-destroying pests, increases in natural predators and diseases like Colony Collapse Disease (CCD) have taken a toll on bee populations. The decline of these valuable pollinators has taken a great toll on agriculture who depend on their work to produce the food that we consume and to help keep crop yield high. In this way, the decline in numbers of bees affects us all.

The flip side of this issue is that urban sprawl has reduced habitat and increased the likelihood that people may come in contact with bees. Construction on campus is ever-present these days and this often brings us into the habitat bees have used for years prompting calls for bee removal. We all know at least one person who is allergic to bee stings and probably many more that are terrified at the thought of being stung; these instances create safety concerns. Honeycombs built inside structures or inside equipment can even cause damage to the property itself. This creates a dilemma for Pest Management Professionals. We have a responsibility to protect our environment and these beneficial insects but we also have a responsibility to protect people and property from the ill-effects of these insects.

SSC Structural Pest Control routinely deals with calls for bees, especially in the Spring when new swarms are present, and we believe we have developed processes which protect both people and bees. Sometimes these calls are for bees that are simply out foraging for food and are busy pollinating the many flowers and shrubs we have on this beautiful campus. In these instances, we try to simply educate and ask people to avoid the areas as much as possible to allow the bees to do their important work. We also have cases where we have the opportunity to work with local beekeepers to safely remove and relocate healthy hives so that the bees may flourish and provide their many benefits to our environment somewhere that is safe for them to do so. We, SSC Structural Pest Control, have been very fortunate over the years to have excellent relationships with local beekeepers who have been both willing and able to collect these hives or swarms and relocate them for us. On occasion, bees are found in an area where they pose an immediate threat to people and removal and relocation is either not possible or not feasible. In these rare instances, bees must be treated appropriately to protect the general public, but we do our best to do our part for the environment and save as many bees as we can.

SSC Structural Pest Control takes pride in the efforts taken to both protect the students, faculty and staff, and visitors to this fine campus while also being mindful of responsibilities to protect our environment and these beneficial insects. We hope that you take pride in the fact that we are doing so as well. We ask that you support us in our efforts as we try our best to balance our responsibilities to the environment in which we work and live with the safety of those whom we serve.

Submitted by Bryan McGee, ACE, CPTM | Pest Control Manager

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