Fairmount Park bee swarm disperses as pest control responds

A sign warning people to stay out of a taped section of Fairmount Park in Bangor can be seen on Wednesday, June 20, 2012, after officials had the area sprayed with pesticides to discourage bees that had been spotted in the area.
Kevin Bennett | BDN
A sign warning people to stay out of a taped section of Fairmount Park in Bangor can be seen on Wednesday, June 20, 2012, after officials had the area sprayed with pesticides to discourage bees that had been spotted in the area. Buy Photo
By Andrew Neff, BDN Staff
Posted June 20, 2012, at 6:05 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — An unusually large swarm of bees had residents living near Fairmount Park abuzz early this week, but now all that remains are a few dead bees, some caution tape and a warning sign.

“Safeway Exterminating Company responded, and when they arrived most of the bees had already dispersed,” said Tracy Willette, director of the Bangor Parks and Recreation Department. “Apparently, after he started checking around, most of the remaining bees left as well, but they sprayed the tree they were swarming around as a precaution.”

Willette said a concerned citizen living near the park called city officials to alert them about a large swarm of bees at the park early Monday.

While it’s common to get those kinds of calls sporadically over the summer, a parks and rec employee is always sent to check out each report.

“They can usually take care of it themselves, but in this case they decided it was more than what one person could handle,” Willette said. “A swarm of bees this size was unusual, and it was clustered in the certain area of a tree.

“This is apparently fairly common — where the drones surround the queen and are essentially looking to build a hive.”

Safeway employees responded later Monday and sprayed the area with pesticide. Yellow caution tape was put up around the affected area along with signs warning park users about the bees and the pesticide application.

“The tape was to keep people out until we got control of the bees,” Willette explained. “We were fortunate in this case because it occurred basically just in one corner of the park and it didn’t affect the whole park.”

Fairmount Park — located between Norway and Royal Road and one of the busiest among the 20 in Bangor — features a few walking trails, a perimeter path, a small backstop for baseball and softball games, a playground area, and an all-weather half-court basketball court.

Willette said the affected area, which was about 20 square feet, was located on the Royal Road side and far away from those other park amenities.

“The bees are all gone now, it seems. I was just over there in that area,” Willette said Wednesday afternoon. “The tape should be gone later today.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/06/20/news/bangor/fairmount-park-bee-swarm-disperses-as-pest-control-responds/ printed on September 17, 2014