One of Bangor’s newest restaurants, Las Palapas, started to notice some unwanted visitors shortly after opening: thousands of honey-bees.
“There were concerns about customers getting hit with one of the bees,” says Eriberto Guzman, manager at Las Palapas. “Some customers were afraid, we had like 2 or 3 customers that left because they didn’t want to be close to the bees and that kind of stuff.”
But have no fear, the bee whisperer is here.
“People call on me as one of the people around the state that can relocate hives safely and put them somewhere where they’re protected and they could be looked after.”
Peter Cowin, or the bee whisperer, smokes out the nest before opening the walls, then he gets his specialized vacuum ready to go.
“You expose more combs, you cut the combs out and fit them to shape to fit them to combs,” Cowin explains. “I usually attach those combs to wooden frames with rubber bands.”
The emphasis is on safe removal – for people and the bees.
“That’s what we aim to do is recover the developing bees so the colony has a workforce to rebuild the new colony as we relocate it.”
After they’re removed safely from the building, Cowin takes them to his bee garden in Hampden where the bees can rebuild their combs.”
“I’ll be feeding them heavily. I’ll give them a new hive and they will repair the combs that we’ve put in there and then they’ll start to build a lot of new ones.”
Cowin says with a 25-50% annual decrease in honeybees for the past seven years, it’s important to try and save colonies so they continue to pollinate our food supply.
He says if you find a bees nest, you can call the Swarm Hotline at 619-4BEE or visit their website at mainebeekeepers.org.
“It would have been the easy thing to do to spray them and kill them all,” says Roger Ruhlin, who oversees the Las Palapas building. “But I feel a lot better that we relocated them and being involved and seeing up close and personal how the bees colony was built and learning about their habits and a little more about them made me really appreciate them and their role in nature so I’m glad we took this approach.”