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CHP Grounds Helo Over Bee's Nest

Californian Bee Colony Hangs Out in Highway Patrol Aircraft

The California Highway Patrol recently had to pause operations using their Airbus AS350 helicopter when they found a live beehive colonizing the nose section.

Being good environmental stewards, or simply recognizing the vital use for bees in the local agricultural economy. Local almond farms rely heavily on the proliferation of the tiny pollinators, so the CHP Coastal Division's Air Operations Team from Paso Robles called in some outside expertise to give the bees a free move. Suzi Hulsmann met the team at the local airport with all her kit in tow. She vacuumed out the majority of the worker drones, hoovering up 3 pounds of bees with a specialized system. That enabled her to keep most of them penned up for transit. He said the bees were "totally agreeable", easily allowing her to scoop up and cage the queen bee.

Hulsmann said that the bees were probably hunkered down in the helicopter as a makeshift hive site. High winds in the area, and sparse coverage from the weather throughout the airport complex combined to provide very little shelter for a tiny insect. As a result, the Airbus A350 was probably just a place to hide until it all died down. That mobility played to her advantage, allowing a pretty easy relocation, all things considered. She moved the bunch to Atascadero, 15 miles south. She already had a new hive location ready to go, a fitting end to a fairly happy story.

She did advise the CHP folks to be sure to wipe down as much of the aircraft as they could in order to be sure all traces of the queen's pheromones were removed. Bees operate by microscopic stinks, and any stragglers from the hive could return to re-establish a beachhead even without their queen.


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