Southington parents to hear about bee infestation attack - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Southington parents to hear about bee infestation attack at elementary school

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Playground at Strong Elementary School (WFSB) Playground at Strong Elementary School (WFSB)

State experts said there has been a 50 to 80 percent increase in bee infestation calls this year, and the reason is the weather.

While many have been stressing about bees in and around their homes, one Southington school playground was the target of a bee infestation last spring.

On Wednesday evening, Gale Ridge from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is coming to Southington to update parents on the bee infestation situation at Strong Elementary School.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

The playground was off-limits last spring, and Strong Elementary PTO member Betsy Schroeder said she hopes it can be opened year-round.

"There seems to be a plethora of bees, no matter where you look, whether it's at my house, and we've seen an increase, and definitely here at the school too," Schroeder said. "Every spring it's a problem."

Ridge said her office has been flooded with calls about infestations and exterminators have had trouble keeping up with the sheer amount of jobs.

"Every other call is a yellow jacket situation," Ridge said.

She said the April showers the state is accustomed to simply didn't happen this year, and that allowed the bee, yellow jacket, wasp and hornet populations to thrive.

With each nest holding around 4,000 insects, their presence was evident this summer.

"Normally in springtime the weather conditions can be rough on these insects and a number of the queens can be killed by drowning, but this did not happen," Ridge said.

The playground at Strong Elementary is bee-free right now. The digger bees that are responsible for the playground shutdown are underground, and they might return in the spring but parents are forming their plan of attack.

"This is not going to go away on its own. We can move forward so our children can go outside and let off some steam during recess," Schroeder said.

Experts said to expect the bee population to be more evident as the months go on. They said the bees are most active in September.

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