News

Angry bees attack five Palo Alto workers

Maple falls, angering bees living in tree's hive

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.

Comments

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Posted by Old Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 12, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Wow! Those people are lucky that tree didn't fall on their house!


Like this comment
Posted by Ellen
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 12, 2012 at 6:33 pm

I'll bet that's the fastest those public workers have moved in their careers!


Like this comment
Posted by madd
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm

karma for falling the trees everywhere like san antonio. the bees are natures message. leave my trees alone!


Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 12, 2012 at 7:38 pm

PA Public works was there within a really short amount of time to remove this tree from Newell and the bike lane. They did a great job and should be commended - not insulted (or stung). Thanks to the Public Works!


Like this comment
Posted by Edith
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 12, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Haven't checked lately, but for a very long time there has been a very active beehive in a city parking lot behind the California Ave. Kinko's. It is low in a tree, inches from where people innocently park their cars, and people can get out of their cars into flying bees, plus get bees inside their cars.

I don't understand why the City doesn't have bee keepers move the hive, since some people are horribly allergic, and if someone gets a bee in their car, they can get into an accident, plus I don't know anyone who likes to be stung. It seems like a serious legal liability for the City. There is a tiny sign, with no information other than a phone number to call "for information," and it is just a voicemail, and the Parks & Rec man never called me back.


Like this comment
Posted by Immediate attention
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 12, 2012 at 9:53 pm

There was a quantity of bees forming a nest on one of the new red leafed maples down the main path in Mitchell Park. I called the City with the location and they had a bee removal team out there immediately. The nest was gone within a couple of hours.

If you spot bees swarming in a public location, call the City's tree service number immediately, they'll get them removed ASAP.


Like this comment
Posted by Cur Mudgeon
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 13, 2012 at 10:25 am

"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.

OMG. Call OSHA immediately. Workman's Comp! Oh yeah, they paid the price for working for the city of Palo Alto. Was the man trying to be funny? There are a LOT of unemployed who would not object to paying the price if it meant a steady paycheck. Angry insects are a hazard even to pedestrians--ever come too close to a yellow jacket burrow?

That being said, the city crews DO definitely respond quickly to fallen or even merely hazardous trees, even in the wee hours of the morning. Around 2 am one night, we heard what was most definitely a chain saw. Concerned that vandalism might be taking place, we investigated only to find a city crew taking down part of a hazardous tree which had been reported as starting to fall by neighbors who came home late and observed it. The city is to be commended for that.


Like this comment
Posted by Yeahyou
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2012 at 10:49 am

Hey crankypants, pipe down.


Like this comment
Posted by sad About the Bees
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

The poor bees, they worked so hard, and then lost their home and got killed too! Bees are very good to have for pollination!!! and for honey. SAD.


Like this comment
Posted by Rob Tanner
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 14, 2012 at 12:27 pm

These bees are a menace and should all be eliminated. They are not native to the Bay Area and annually sting and sometimes kill dozens of people.


Like this comment
Posted by Carlito Waysman
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm

The bees were lucky that the PAPD wasn't called, otherwise they would had been shot. Like the PD does when a Mountain Lion wanders somewhere in this City.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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