In September 2019, several people were stung when a serious bee problem was discovered at Hawaii’s Iolani Palace. Now the problem is back, since the hives were not removed at the time.
New season, new bees… the hives are located deep inside some columns, and were not removed at the time, so a new queen bee and her bees have moved in.
Officials have asked the state of Hawaii for money to handle the problem properly this time. Last September the state hired a private exterminator company to fumigate the beehives, after several people in the area were stung and one man landed in hospital. One massive beehive and several others were spotted outside the palace.
It turns out the fumigation was just a temporary fix. This time a permanent solution is required, but it will be costly as it needs to be done in a manner where the historical structure is undamaged. Not only that, but high lifts and skilled craftsmen will need to cut the wood out and replace it, since the area in question is quite high up on the palace. These experienced contractors will have to cut away pieces of wood so bee experts can safely remove the beehives, and then the wood will need to be replaced.
What was done in September cost $8,000 but what now needs to be done will cost $80,000. The palace has also requested additional funds from state lawmakers, since many repairs are long overdue, like upgrading the electrical system, pavilion and roof repair. The amount requested is $2 million.
The bees are not a threat to people in late winter and early spring, but as summer approaches there could be problems, since bees go foraging then. Just the sheer number of bees, as the viable hives get repopulated, could pose a threat.
This is being done as a matter of public safety and to protect the integrity of the palace, according to Curt Cottrell, the State Parks Administrator.
Iolani Palace may have to close temporarily while this operation is carried out and the beehives are removed before the opening ceremonies for a massive event called Festival of the Pacific will be hosted at the palace in June, and several thousand people will attend.
Let's hope these bees are removed and relocated safely by knowledgeable beekeepers.