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'Bee' aware: Blooms abuzz with insects

April 10, 2007

“Bee” aware: It's springtime in the Arizona deserts. That means that plants are in bloom – and the bees are buzzing.

But those bees won't hurt you, unless you threaten them, says Mike Schantel, horticultural specialist and assistant director of grounds.

“We do get regular complaints about bees,” he says. “Bees are anywhere there are flowers and fruit trees. But they won't become aggressive unless you get between them and their hive, or you are disturbing them.”

Schantel says ASU's Facilities Management personnel will respond immediately to reports of swarms of bees.

“We'll remove the hive and seal the hole where the hive was,” he says.

But there is little they can do about individual bees, except for stripping the campus bare.

Some people are worried that they will get stung and will have an allergic reaction to the bee sting, and they want the flowers removed.

“But I can't justify that, if it's just individual bees,” he says. “They're just pollinating the flowers, and I'm hesitant to go after them.”

The best thing is just to avoid contact with the bees.

“If you see a bee on a flower, leave it alone and it will leave you alone,” Schantel says. “I've pruned flowers with bees on them, and I've never been stung. I just move carefully.”