AUSTIN -- Tens of thousands of bees are swarming inside an oak tree off Highway 183. Officials postponed a plan to remove them Tuesday evening after discovering a second exit hole in the tree.
The hive sits about 12 feet off the ground. Bee keepers installed a make-shift hive to lure the bees out of the tree. The decoy hive is designed to trap the bees and prevent them from re-entering the tree.
Crews say since discovering the second exit hole, it may now be another week or two before they can remove the decoy hive. They must now seal the hole and lure the remaining bees into the decoy.
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority discovered the hive several months ago while conducting an environmental study on Highway 183 for an expansion project. An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 bees were found inside the tree.
Experts say since the tree is alive they can't cut it down. That's when they set up the trap.
“It's basically a cone we put over the hole and make sure there are no other exits they can use. Each day as the bees go out to forge, when they come back, they come back to where the old entrance was which is the base of the cone. They can't figure out how to get in. Then every evening they're going to merge into the decoy beehive,” said bee and rodent specialist Randy Oakley.
Oakley says once the bees are removed, they will transport the hive to a bee farm in Robinson, Texas, about 80 miles north of Austin.