On Oct. 9, two agitated beehives led to six students visiting the Cal State Fullerton Student Health & Counseling Center for stings.
University Police Capt. Scot Willey said that there have been about 12 reports of bees swarming on campus in the last year.
“It’s fairly common. I was at Cal State Long Beach for a while and we had the same issue there,” Willey said.
Frank Chavoya, the safety trainer for the CSUF Environmental Health and Safety Services, said that the university has taken steps to become more prepared for calls like these.
Originally, the response team had to improvise their way through handling bee problems on campus. For the last call they received in October, they used a hazmat suit and duct taped the entries to prevent bees from getting in, Chavoya said.
“We weren’t really prepared to respond to the bees … So we kind of MacGyvered a suit,” Chavoya said.
Since then, Environmental Health and Safety Services have obtained a bee response kit complete with two bee suits, nitrile gloves, beekeeper gloves and a smoker.
“The smoker calms the bees down so we can actually grab them, scoop them into a box and save them,” Chavoya said.
Additionally, they purchased four plastic caution signs to place in areas where bees were reported.
When beehives are found on campus, a company that saves the bees is contacted to remove them, Chavoya said. In the meantime, the bees are stored in a chemical storage area on campus.
Chavoya said the company he contacted for the last incident was We Save Bees, a group of live bee removal professionals that is committed to saving and preserving bee populations.
A lot of the time, Chavoya said the Environmental Health and Safety Services will receive calls about swarming bees that will be gone by the time a response team arrives.
Willey said that notifications of swarms of bees on campus is not an issue that is out of the ordinary.
“They’ll come in, take over an area for a couple of days, and then they’ll move on,” he said.