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Thursday , June 2, 2022

BMD Rehomes Swarm from ITD Rooftop

Alameda County knows that GSA’s Building Maintenance Department (BMD) is the place to call for help with a graffitied wall or an errant HVAC system. But this week, ITD discovered that BMD is also the department that will help relocate a thousand swarming bees from a department rooftop. BMD responded to ITD’s call for help ASAP with a team of experts who were able to assess the situation and safely remove the bees, getting the bees back on their way and ITD back on its much-loved rooftop deck.

When ITD discovered that its building was buzzing with thousands of unexpected visitors, ITD called BMD engineer Martin Gasca to find out whether the bees would buzz into the building’s HVAC system: “Do we need to close the air intake?” Gasca assured ITD staff that screens covering the HVAC intake would prevent unwelcome visitors, but BMD didn’t stop there. 

BMD knows that ITD staff enjoy their rooftop deck. People bring laptops up there to work out in the open air and enjoy the rooftop cafe. As part of BMD’s mission to ensure that County workspaces are clean, safe and bright, BMD called in expert assistance from Western Exterminator, our County vendor, to see what could be done to help ITD get their rooftop back. 

Western’s bee expert Pamela Williams came to assess the situation and to decide: Did the bees need to be exterminated or could they be humanely removed? Williams determined that the bees were simply swarming (leaving their old hive to form a new one) and could be safely relocated. Williams called in a trained beekeeper, who set up a bee box to entice the bees away from the building. The bee box stayed on site for two days while the bees collected there and then Western safely relocated the colony.

Not only did ITD get its rooftop back, but the bees got to keep doing their critical job pollinating plants in Alameda County. To learn more about how to help our local bees, and the role they play in our environment, visit UC Berkeley’s Urban Bee Lab “Help-a-Bee” website. When you need a quick response to a facilities problem, BMD makes it happen.

[images for this story can be found on the ITD website.]

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