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Bees on the move from the Thomas fire zone are finding new homes

The bee population is on the move after the Thomas fire in the Ventura and Santa Barbara County foothills last December. Hundreds of hives were lost both in the wild and on some private ranches. It was a blow torch to the habitat and the bees are swarming to find new homes. The owner of Super Bee Rescue Nick Wigle says “there were a lot of bees that had their homes and hives in the trees. There’s also a bunch of bee keepers, me and a couple of my friends, we lost about a thousand hives.” Now, after the rain, the spring bloom of flowers is taking place and that too is attracting bees. “One of the things people are going to be noticing is an increase in bees flying around their property looking for flowers or if they are lucky they will see a cloud of bees, ” said Wigle. The bees are pollinating and reproducing. It’s healthy but if it’s too much they can be moved to people’s property similar to foster parents which are “basically around town that host hives in their back yard,” said Wigle. The calls for service are mainly for honey bees, but at Santa Barbara City College a late evening project this week was to remove an underground bumble bee hive. It required a quiet area, when school was not in session and it needed a netted enclosure. At times a special slower modified vacuum is used to capture the bees. There was also a gentle clearing of the soil to find the hive, keep it together and relocate it. Overall the bees are showing up in increasing numbers at a time when there had been a drop off. “So the bees are just absolutely loving all the flowers, pollen and nectar they can get. As a result people are noticing a lot more bees around town. Super Bee says when they set up especially in a well traveled area, they mark off their spot and put up special signs. It draws attention to their work and Wigle says it shows that bees are safer than many people think. “We are also trying to use that visibility to show people I’m working a hive in the middle of downtown Santa Barbara and no one gets stung and we have removed 20,000 bees. It isn’t that fear factor,” he said. For more information go to:

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