Bees in the cavity of a fallen tree gained the upper hand against a City of Palo Alto tree-removal crew on Wednesday afternoon, stinging the entire crew of five.
The Public Works Department employees responded when a large, silver maple with extensive root rot fell down onto Newell Road. When they arrived, they found that a beehive in the tree's cavity had been damaged, said city Urban Forester Walter Passmore.
And the bees were furious.
"The entire crew got stung at least one time per person. Some were stung multiple times. They looked like they got in a fight. They all paid the price for working for the City of Palo Alto," he said.
Workers were trying to cut up the tree, which was blocking the road in front of 2020 Newell. The city called a bee service to try to capture the hive; bees will generally follow the queen into a box if the portion of the hive where she is located can be removed.
But Passmore said because part of the hive was broken the bees would not calm down. The hive eventually had to be exterminated, he said.
Crews finished cleaning up the tree Thursday, July 12. Another large silver maple of about the same age is growing under the same conditions and is just 40 feet to the north of the fallen tree. It will be evaluated to make sure it does not pose a hazard, Passmore said.