AUSTIN, Texas - It’s springtime in Austin and that means bee season is picking up speed.
On Wednesday, Walter Schumacher, who runs the American Honeybee Protection Agency, responded to two water meters where city workers reported beehives.
“So bees send a colony out to form a new colony and bees love little boxes that are about nine inches deep by 20 inches wide by 16 inches wide. It seems that a water meter is almost that perfect size,” said Schumacher.
This spring, he’s been removing and relocating bee hives about 8 times per week in Austin.
On Wednesday, the bees were much friendlier than some of the other hives he’s encountered in the past. Tuesday was a different story. The Austin Fire Department buzzed Schumacher for help after a hive of angry bees swarmed a couple of landscapers. Luckily, everyone who got stung was okay.
“[Bees] sometimes are very temperamental creatures and it only takes 1,500 of them to kill you and even a little baby hive... has about 8,000 bees in it,” Schumacher said.
The American Honeybee Protection Agency has a contract with the City of Austin. Schumacher gets dispatched by 311, Austin Energy or Austin Water anytime a hive is located that needs to be removed.
He gives this advice to anyone who finds themselves in a bit of a sticky situation with bees, “If, by chance, you run into a beehive and you didn’t want to, or if, by chance, you’re mowing your yard and you start to get attacked by a beehive, immediately get off your lawnmower and go to a door,” said Schumacher.
Then get inside and call 3-1-1.
After loading a problematic hive into a box, Schumacher takes the bees to a ranch in Southeast Travis County where they can live in peace.