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Calls for bee swarms keep Tucson firefighters busy

Calls for bee swarms keep Tucson firefighters busy
Posted at 4:50 PM, Apr 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-17 21:28:37-04

People and pets warned to keep their distance at Palo Verde Park on the eastside Monday morning after someone discovered a swarm high in a tree. Workers taped off the area until the swarm moved on.
This is just the latest attention-grabbing swarm in Tucson this spring.  The fire department reports firefighters have responded to at least 40 calls for swarms over the last three weeks.

TFD Captain Barrett Baker says most of the time the bees just want space to rest. “If that swarm is just in a tree and minding their own business and not aggressive they're going to move on very quickly, just keep your distance from them and again in about 24 hours they've moved on,” Baker explained. 

If bees near your home become aggressive call 911, Baker said. However, when firefighters arrive they'll look for ways to solve the problem without killing the bees.

“Obviously, bees are a very important part of nature and so we don’t want to do that unless they are showing that aggressiveness,” Baker said. 

In fact, bees around the world are more likely to be the ones threatened. Researchers like Kim Franklin at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum say humans are a big reason why, “Still the number one threat is habitat loss in addition to that there is climate change.”

When it comes to co-existing both researchers and first responders recommend living by the philosophy: if you don't bother bees, they won't bother you.