Nacogdoches Fire Department recognized by national magazine for beekeeping tactics

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Swarms of bees are invading East Texas and for Nacogdoches the numbers of bees trespassing onto resident's home is increasing.

But with a recent investment into bee suits, the Nacogdoches Fire Department is cracking down on bee hives and finding solutions to get rid of them.

"Instead of destroying every hive now we're coming up with solutions to get rid of the hive," Ray Cole, the captain, said.

A couple of months ago the city invested in two bee suits and a national beekeeping magazine took notice. But Cole says their beekeeping tactics aren't new.

"The fire department has always received 911 calls and it was just this year that we decided to start trying to do something. We used to spray firefighter foam and kill every hive that we would get 911 calls on and now what we are doing is if they pose a threat then we actually use a foam solution to destroy the hive," Cole said.

The firefighters are able to be more hands on with their investigations because of the suits and see if the bees are posing a threat.

The suits actually have a layer underneath the netting that protects the skin from getting penetrated from the bee stinger.

Cole says they have been getting a lot more calls than usual this year, and are on the lookout for Africanized bees that are making a beeline for the north.

"The Africanized bee is the exact same bee as the European bee and that's the bees that we have here. The only difference is you can't look at them and tell the difference between the two. The only difference is the aggression. You could have a European bee that could defend it's hive 20-30 yards away. While the Africanized bee will defend 100 yards away," Cole said.

But Cole says people shouldn't be scared of bees.

"When you're outdoors, be alert. I mean listen to the buzzing, you know watch for bees around," Cole said.

And if you are unsure, the fire department is always around to help, especially since two firefighters on each shift are trained to handle bee hives.

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