Buzzing bees create challenge for Ameren Illinois crews

Illinois
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ALTON, Ill. – An Alton neighborhood has been buzzing. The threat of electrical problems and a big beehive combined to create a challenge for Ameren Illinois crews.

If crews didn’t do something it could have been tough for Ameren customers if rough weather would have rolled through.

“We would have lost several hundred customers had these large limbs come down during a normal windstorm,” said Brian Bretsch, a spokesman for Ameren Illinois.

Powers line crisscross an intersection. Tree limbs were just about to fall on them.

Ameren deemed it a hazard that required immediate attention. Right away a new beehive 30 feet up in the air full of bees was discovered.

“We know that’s the ecological responsible thing to do,” said Dave Schenck, Ameren Illinois.

Honeybee keeper Johnny Murdock was called to help and Wright Tree Service went into action.

“We did a little advance rigging in the cotton wood to safely lower the logs the bees were in without disturbing them,” said Chris Lorenz, who works for Wright.

Once the log full of bees landed, Murdock was able to use a vacuum-like device on the bees.

“You can adjust the pressure so you’re not sucking them too hard; it will gently pull them off the comb and we’ll bring them home,” he said.

The bees have a new home in Murdock’s south St. Louis County backyard where they are making the world a little better.

“People don’t realize how important honeybees are; about one in every three bites of food the honeybee makes,” he said.

Brian Bretsch added: “It’s a win for our customers because we improved service reliability for them and it’s a win for the honeybees because now they have a safe area to continue and process and make honey.”

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