February 22, 2017; KEYE-TV (Austin, TX)
Remember when a sinkhole opened up under what was until then the relatively obscure Corvette Museum, swallowing up some prized cars? We would bet the facility is far better known following that disaster. Perhaps this bee rescue can find a silver lining in the public education value of the tornado that took out part of the Texas facility.
In Travis County, a tornado with winds of 85 mph decimated the American Honey Bee Protection Agency (AHBPA). No bees were injured, apparently, but between 3,000 and 4,000 bee boxes were destroyed, each valued at $150.
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As most of our readers know, honeybees, which are badly needed for the pollination of many crops, are dying off at an alarming rate. AHBPA responds to calls from people experiencing out-of-control swarms and infestations in and around their homes and businesses. Their removal processes are humane and place the bees in locations where they are wanted. The bee boxes are used to rescue and relocate the bees, so they are essential tools.
The bee rescue organization is one of those groups that directly address the needs of a particular region. Five thousand people across Texas called the organization last year, but AHBPA was only able to respond to about 1,000 of those calls. That was before the loss of the boxes, so the organization is in emergency fundraising mode right now. We can only hope the increased buzz around the nonprofit’s work that flows from this disaster might provide an opportunity to accompany the challenge.
Cameron Barnette, the operations manager, says that AHBPA is very lucky no hives and bees were lost. “I love them,” said Barnette, who sported a big sting on his nose.—Ruth McCambridge