Bees removed from Catawba College building

A private contractor has removed many of the honey bees that infested the Robertson College-Community Center at Catawba College last month, and the building is safe to use, college officials said.

The Salisbury college was besieged by bees last month, when a massive honeycomb up to 24 feet long was discovered in the wall of the building. That forced the college to move its graduation ceremony to another site on campus.

After an on-site inspection Wednesday, wildlife biologist Bryan Bosley of Animal Control Experts declared the building “safe for personal and commercial use,” Catawba College communications officer Tonia Black-Gold said.

Bosley determined that bee activity was declining and swarms of bees around the exterior of the building in mid-May were gone, she said.

The college agreed to pay the company $32,000 to non-lethally remove the several hundred thousand honey bees from the building.

The college will resume activities in the building beginning with the week-long Tar Heel Girls State camp that starts Sunday, Black-Gold said.

The bees were entering a hive through a small seam in the building's brick exterior. The honeycomb was between the brick veneer and a cinder block wall, Bosley said.

The company uses custom-built devices to force bees out of their hives and into an artificial hive, while sealing up the real hive so they cannot re-enter it. The bees ultimately will be given away to various beekeepers.

In the weeks ahead, college officials and the contractor will continue to monitor bee activity at the center and move bees as the need arises.

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