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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Bees Become An Annoyance on Campus

It was a warm and breezy August day, when Ryan Seeram, a senior with a dual major in biochemistry and political science at Stony Brook University, walked toward Building E in West Apartments. As he happily greeted someone, a yellow jacket flew at his finger and stung him.

‘It hurt for a couple of days,’ Seeram said. ‘I think the stinger was stuck inside. I still have a little dot there.’ He stuck out his left hand, exposing his middle finger. ‘It was red and big.’

Seeram, one of the many students affected by the yellow jackets that swarm the University’s campus, also encountered the unfriendly flying insects outside of the Earth and Space Sciences building. Seeram squashed a bee on the grass. ‘Five minutes later, four more bees came to that bee.’

According to Stony Brook University Integrated Pest Management Guidelines for Yellow Jackets, ‘Yellow jackets are important predators of pest insects such as flies and caterpillars and as scavengers help to recycle organic material.’

‘They’re still pests,’ Punn said. ‘That’s like saying fruit flies are beneficial because they decompose the waste from the garbage.’

For some students, keeping the harmful yellow jackets out of the air is more important than preventing pest insects that go unnoticed on campus.

‘There are always bees, and they are always attacking,’ Nishi Joshi , a junior biology major, said. ‘Everyone does a little dance in the morning. It’s a pattern that goes from right to left. You know it’s happening and its embarrassing,’

The yellow jacket wasps, commonly mistaken as bees to the students who pass, cause an interruption in a students daily pattern. Some students walk faster, flick their hands in the air or even take a different route to class to stay away from the critters.

‘They’re yellow jackets, they’re not bees,’ Natasha Pohuja, a senior majoring in business management at Stony Brook University, said. ‘No, my attitude does not change. I’m still envious.’

For Pohuja ,the yellow jackets pose a more serious threat to people than bees, for they have the ability to sting on more than one occasion in their lifetime.

From the Earth and Space Sciences Building, to underneath the scoreboard at the stadium, the yellow jackets hide out, as students keep an eye open.

However, some don’t give the yellow jackets a second glance.

Chien Lam, a transfer student from Baruch College with a major in biochemistry, doesn’t care as much when the yellow jackets come near him for food.

‘They do brush up against my skin,’ Lam said. ‘It’s only when I’m eating and I won’t be eating for long. Some people sit out there for leisure. If it bothers them, they should just move.’

When the jackets are hungry, instead of swarming students, they hover around garbage cans, eating what is left of a students’ soup or salad.

To prevent the problem, the Environmental Health and Safety Office set up yellow jacket traps, which contain soda or other sweetened liquid, around campus. According to Hulse, a large number of traps are hung near the academic mall, the stadium and the athletic fields. ‘EH&S begins removing nests in early summer whenever they are found,’ Hulse said. ‘The yellow jacket traps go up in August. Currently, over 200 traps have been placed around campus.’

Hulse hopes that the efforts by the Environmental Health and Safety Office are being noticed. ‘If someone reports a problem with yellow jackets, EH&S Pest Management Staff takes care of the complaint as soon as possible,’ Hulse said. ‘Hopefully, the campus population will see that the traps are up and working.’

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