The program benefits the airport as well as the honeybees. “Swarming is reproductive behavior,” says Repasky. “In the spring, a healthy colony will split in half, and will take off in a swarm to locate a new home, traveling upwards of a mile or more. While they’re searching, they’ll stop to rest on the first solid object they can find, whether it’s the wing of an aircraft, a runway taxi light, or a luggage cart.” To combat this behavior, Shertzer and Repasky have placed 15 “swarm traps” around the perimeter of the airfield offering the bees alternative landing spots. It’s worked: Whereas the airport used to have 15 or more swarms a year interrupting air operations, in the past year they’ve had just three.
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