Bees are dying globally at an alarming rate. And the San Diego Padres are doing their part to kill them.
On Sunday, the Marlins-Padres game in San Diego was delayed for 28 minutes by a swarm of bees. It was all very cute, in the way that these things are. Fans cleared out. Players ran for cover. Austin Hedges put on a Deadpool mask and armed himself with two bats in case the bees made a lunge for him.
And then, a man in a beekeeping suit—but not a beekeeper—arrived. He, uh, took care of them. Deadly care.
The man was an exterminator. He was armed with poison, and he sprayed the bees until they all died, and then he sucked up their corpses with a shop vac.
There was absolutely no reason to do this. In the spring, honeybees swarm in order to form a new colony, as a queen and a whole bunch of workers leave their hive and set out to look for a suitable new home. When they find one, they mass on it in order to protect the queen and also look for a suitable cavity in which to start construction. It’s pretty intense-looking, but it’s harmless. The bees are not aggressive. It’s rare that a swarm of honeybees leads to anyone getting stung, as long as you mind your business.
They do have to be removed, especially if they snuck into the good seats at a ballpark without paying. But beekeepers know how to do this quickly and humanely, including with special vacuums that don’t harm the bees. The bees are then relocated to a safe site where they can start their colony and go on helpfully making honey and wax and pollinating our plants.
That is absolutely not what the Padres’ exterminator did, and the New York Police Department’s two-officer beekeeping unit was pissed.
One potential reason an exterminator was involved was because the Padres are contractually obligated to call one. A local company is “the official pest control provider to The San Diego Padres.” This means the company paid the Padres for the honor, and it means that they will always get the call on the occasion that there is an infestation of anything at the ballpark. That the exterminator didn’t distinguish docile and removable bees from actual pests should really bug you.