Former Knoxville mayor helps relocate bees after downtown swarm

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Bees that had swarmed in Downtown Knoxville on Tuesday were safely relocated by apiary experts that included a former Knoxville mayor.

On Tuesday, WATE 6 Storm Team meteorologist Justin Kiefer spotted the bees outside of the Hyatt Place in downtown.

Local beekeepers were called in to help, including former Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero.

Rogero worked to collect the bees and said it wasn’t the first call for bee relocation this month. The former mayor also said she has kept bees off and on for 16 years.

Last spring, around 30,000 bees swarmed an unsuspecting woman’s car in the Old City. Local beekeeper experts told WATE 6 On Your Side the event is quite common around this time of year.

RELATED: 30,000 honeybees swarm woman’s car while in Knoxville’s Old City

“This is actually swarm season because as the hives try and build up, they’ll realize they’re a little full and part of the hive will go,” Lynda Rizzardi, president of the Knox County Beekeepers Association, said in May 2019.

If a swarm happens to set up on your car or where you live, you can call the Knox County Beekeepers Association’s Swarm Removal Team at (865) 356-6033.

Beekeepers say typically a swarm will stay between two to 24 hours and sometimes a second day if it’s raining.

The swarm is looking for a new home and they’re wanting to move.

How can you help the honeybee? Beekeepers say by not spraying pesticides during the middle of the day because bees may mistake it for dew or water, bringing it back to the hive.

How you can help the bees, other pollinators 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service, bees are the most effective pollinators because they feed only on flowers. Flowers attract and reward bees for their pollination service, bees gather two kinds of foods from flowers – sugar-rich nectar to fuel their flight and protein-rich pollen, or “bee bread” to feed their young brood (baby bees larvae). 

The U.S. Forest Service recommends the following for keeping a pollinator-friendly garden:

  • Use a wide variety of plants that bloom from early spring to late fall (perennials, annuals & blooming fruit trees)
  • Avoid modern hybrid flowers, especially “doubled” flowers
  • Eliminate pesticides whenever possible
  • Include larval host plants in your landscape
  • Create a damp salt lick for butterflies and bees 
  • Spare the limbs, or build a bee condo for nesting
  • Add nectar sources like 4-parts-water with 1-part-sugar; never use artificial sweeteners or fruit juices
  • Add an easy (for takeoffs & landings) water source for them in your yard

For more information about how to plant a bee garden, click here.

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