Today’s buzz: Honeybees complicate gateway project on Walnut Hill

Bees at Alexanders Village

Contractors working since October to replace aging Bradford Pear trees along Walnut Hill with healthy new oaks and redbuds knew the job wouldn’t be easy. Working in the median of a busy, six-lane thoroughfare is plenty challenging and spring weather doesn’t always cooperate, but this crew encountered a hurdle they weren’t expecting — bees.

For at least two years, a hive of honeybees had been setting up shop inside the brick wall entrance to Alexander’s Village at Walnut Hill and Lizshire Avenue. The activity of tree planting and beautification was enough to set them buzzing.

Enter Daniel Bistrain of Sweet Beez Removal Services.

Bistrain removed one brick at a time, taking care not to agitate the hive, and discovered the honeycomb inside a cavity of the brick wall. He located the queen and placed her in a queen cage, and used a bee smoker to blow cool smoke into the hive. Smoke tricks worker bees into believing there is a fire so they’ll fill up on honey and escape. It also masks pheromones and minimizes their defensive reactions. Bistrain removed the honeycomb, full of honey, pollen and developing bees, to a Langstroth style hive, and waited for the worker bees to come find their queen.

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Destruction of the bees was never an option, says Kristoffer Rasmussen, Urban Forestry Manager with the City of Dallas Public Works, which is helping with the tree replacement project.

“Beehives located in cities produce healthier and more productive bees,” Rasmussen says. “Urban bees have access to greater biodiversity, resulting in a more varied diet and stronger immune systems. Bee health is particularly important today because over the past decade, bee populations have been drastically declining.”

Bistrain reports that the Alexander’s Village bee colony is healthy and growing elsewhere.

“This is much more than a business for Daniel,” Rasmussen says. “He loves to rescue bees and educate anyone interested in hearing about these industrious workers.”

The new trees are part of the HOA’s project to enhance the gateway entrance to Lake Highlands, and additional landscaping and signage is also planned. You can learn more here.

Beehive

About the Author:

Carol Toler
Contributor CAROL TOLER and her husband, Toby, are the parents of four Lake Highlands High School graduates: Lindsay (2005), Laura (2006), Will (2009) and Ben (2010). She has an MBA from SMU and a passion for writing good-news stories about fascinating people. Email ctoler@advocatemag.com.