Lawrence Resident’s Innovative Approach to Protect Honeybees and Homeowners

By Trish Svoboda

As a homeowner, the unexpected arrival and habitation of a bee swarm in your home can be quite a nuisance. However, a resident of Lawrence proposes an alternative to extermination, considering the dwindling numbers of honeybees. He suggests a different approach for their removal.

Robert Brooks, who has a doctorate in entomology from the University of Kansas has been working with honeybees for over 30 years. He said bees were being killed by homeowners, and with the decline of honeybees, he wanted to find a solution to both problems.

Brooks is currently in the second year of a two-year funding period from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Sustainable Research and Education Program. The grant supports his project of installing swarm rescue boxes in 32 parks across Lawrence.

Brooks has implemented a project in Lawrence’s city parks, supported by the local Parks and Recreation Department, to attract bee swarms to specially designed boxes instead of local homes. When bees are found in these boxes, they are moved to rural areas to pollinate fields and support local beekeepers. The boxes are placed high in trees for safety and are checked weekly. Brooks plans to expand this successful program to other cities, starting with Ottawa, located 30 miles south of Lawrence.

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