BEP’s new location buzzing with winged visitors
- Published: Sep 11, 2023, 9 AM
Despite the discovery on July 26 of an invasion of bees, construction of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s replacement currency production facility in Beltsville, Maryland, will not be delayed.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, safely gathered and relocated 25,000 to 30,000 honeybees that were encountered by workers during the demolition and removal of unnecessary property at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, the future home of the BEP.
A press release from the Corps of Engineers stated that after discovering the bees, the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the Maryland Beekeepers Association were contacted for assistance, and Baltimore’s Bee Friendly Apiary was able to visit the site and remove the hives within a week.
The owner and head beekeeper at Bee Friendly Apiary, Bill Castro, vacuumed the bees into a bee box, broke off the wax combs, salvaged about 40 pounds of honey, and then took everything to the apiary in Baltimore. At the apiary, the honeycomb was to be attached to the frames of a beekeeping box where the bees would be released and immediately recognize their hive.
“Every single person we interacted with at Baltimore District, the state agencies, and the contractor/subcontractor personnel all wanted to see the honeybees rehomed safely rather than destroyed,” said Sal Van Wert, Baltimore District project manager for the Corps of Engineers. “It was really fulfilling to witness.”
With the bees no longer a threat, abatement and demolition resumed. Site preparation for the new BEP facility will continue through 2023, and construction is scheduled to start in 2024. The BEP’s current location in Washington is over a hundred years old and is no longer practical for modern production requirements.
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