UNT Exterminating Bee Colonies Over Safety Concerns

University leaders say campus bees put students, faculty at risk

By Sara Story
|  Thursday, Mar 10, 2011  |  Updated 6:30 PM CDT
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The <a title=University of North Texas has been home to some enormous bees hives for more than 18 years, and now school leaders say it's time to get rid of the bees." />

Sara Story, NBCDFW.com

The University of North Texas has been home to some enormous bees hives for more than 18 years, and now school leaders say it's time to get rid of the bees.

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The University of North Texas says it is time to exterminate some buzzing residents who have called the university home for more than 18 years.

School leaders say they must get rid of two enormous bee hives in one of the walls of the Radio, Television, Film building.

Lynda Hutson, UNT pest control administer, said she cannot protect the bees anymore.

"I have protected it for the past ten years," she said.

While the older hive has never posed problems, bees living in the second hive have become extremely aggressive in the past three weeks.

"They do not hover; they do not land," Huston said.

She said students and faculty members could be at danger.

"The worse case scenario is, someone that's allergic could die," Huston said. "That's the bottom line. We can't have that happen."

Experts do not know exactly how large the hives are, but they could fill up the entire wall of the building.

"We did thermal imaging," Hutson said. "We listened with stethoscopes. We've done everything to locate the combs, but because of the structural integrity of the building, we simply can't."

Because they can't locate the queen bee, the university cannot move the hive, leaving extermination the only option.

"I've nurtured them," Hutson said. "Now the decision has to be made. Frankly, we are devastated. But what's the price of the life of a student?"

The elimination process will take place on Monday. School leaders said it will be several weeks before all of the bees are killed and the hives are removed.

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