Bengaluru says ‘no’ to strong perfumes over bee-attack fear

By Times Of India on 02 Apr 2018
BENGALURU: With at least 50 hives found atop trees in Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, visitors are vulnerable to honeybee attacks, especially those wearing strong perfumes or hairsprays. To prevent such incidents, the horticulture department has devised a novel idea — more guards have been deployed near trees with beehives to shoo away visitors wearing such scents.
Honeybees usually leave people alone, but they get confused when attracted by the strong smell of perfumes, soaps or hairsprays and attack those wearing the fragrance.

MR Chandrashekhar, deputy director (Lalbagh), horticulture department, said going by the history of bee attacks in the park, most of the victims had strong-smelling perfume on during the incident.

“We’ve placed barricades around trees which host a large number of honeybee colonies. We have not only trained our guards to educate visitors about honeybees but also restrict those wearing strong perfumes from standing or walking near trees with bee colonies. Even smoking is prohibited as it can disturb the bees. This is done to ensure safety of visitors and prevent untoward incidents,” he explained.

‘Bee population sees a spike in April, May’

With the number of visitors to Lalbagh touching 10,000 during weekends, staffers have their task cut out. Twenty beehives are found on a silk cotton tree near the west gate of the park, 20 on trees near the main gate and five near the joint director’s office.

A senior department official said honeybee population in Lalbagh spikes during April and May. “Flowering of plants and trees during the season attracts bees. Since it’s school vacation, the park witnesses more footfalls. Hence, we decided to implement security measures on the advice of entomologists. Caution boards have been installed at various places,” he said.

The officer said, “Park security guards have been briefed about rescue procedures. They are equipped with necessary equipment such as gunny bags and tongs to pull out bee stings. We have an ambulance on standby.”

SCENT OF A TRAGEDY

› During 2016 Independence Day flower show, honeybees attacked four men in two incidents.

›During 2015 flower show, Vaishnavi, 7, from Padmanabhanagar, died of bee attack.