Bees Not Welcome for Memorial Day

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With the unofficial start to summer coming up this weekend, many public swimming pools are gearing up for another season.

Staff members at one pool in Lackawanna County had an extra task to perform this year to get ready for opening day, and they had to figure out how to do it without getting stung.

The pool at Lackawanna State Park is now ready to open for the season this Saturday.

A few weeks ago staff members noticed some buzzing coming from the life guard shack right next to the concession stand.

Park Manager Dustin Drew knew something had to be done before opening day.

"When you're encouraging people to come in and swim and visit the snack bar bees and snacks and little kids don't always mix too well," said Drew.

Sure enough, the honeybees had made a hive in the walls.

Rather than use insecticides to kill the bees, park officials called in an expert: a beekeeper.

"Being a state park we want to promote environmental friendliness. We want to do things the right way. We know that honeybees have been on a bit of a decline," said Drew.

Kevin Baker, a member of the Susquehanna County Bee Association, was the man for the job.

"Just being very gentle is the biggest thing, not rushing the situation is probably the most important thing," explained Baker.

First, he used smoke to draw the bees out from their hive. Then he used a vacuum that is attached to a screened box inside a cooler.

Baker will take the colony back to his farm in Susquehanna County so the bees can make honey once again.

"There is a die-off happening and it's kind of unexplained so as many bees as I can rescue, I do," said Baker.

Now that the bees have gone to a better place, the pool at Lackawanna State Park opens this Saturday.

It will be open Sunday and Monday as well, and on weekends only for the first two weeks of the season.