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Busy bees keep Southcoast beekeeper on the move

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Spring is in the air and so are swarms of bees.

News Channel 3-12 caught up with Nicholas Wigle, owner and operator of Super Bee Rescue and Removal, at a home on E. Ortega Street just down from the junior high.

There were more than a few bees buzzing by.

(Courtesy: Nicolas Wigle/Super Bee Rescue & Removal)

"The bees just think I'm a giant bee and we have a good conversation," said Wigle. "I tell them I'm not going to hurt 'em and I believe that they believe me."

He gave some pointers when it comes to beehives. He said he likes potential customers who find one on their property to describe the hive as a piece of sports equipment -- is it the size of a softball, a football, or a basketball?

"Otherwise, people tell me, 'there's 10 bees' and it's actually 30,000. Or, they tell me, 'it's a million bees' and it's not."

This local expert said 300 bees can fit into a half cup. That visual helps Wigle figure out how many bees are in a hive when it comes to rescue and removal.

The Ortega Street hive was just above the sidewalk, perched on a Jacaranda Tree. In this case, it was a safety concern.

"So, this was about 5,000 bees kind of on the smaller side of swarms but they landed up in this jacaranda tree and our big concern with some of these swarms on really public areas is not that the swarm itself is going to be a problem but it's where the swarm moves to next."

He said swarms this time of year can be twice as big.

Wigle offered up some bee trivia: they can fly 15 miles an hour, the queen is 10 to 15% bigger than the others and, bees like to build hives in something with a five gallon cavity, like an attic or an irrigation box.

Wigle said if you find a bee hive on your property, let the experts determine whether it should stay or be moved.

"Honey bees are in trouble. We need them for pollinating our crops and food that we eat. So, rescuing a hive, we do that a lot so bees can get back into our food system."

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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about Beth, click here

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