It’s the birds and the bees talk over at the Waxahachie Fire Station Number Three. Only, not the one you’re typically used to.
Waxahachie Fire Station Number Three, located at 407 Water St., has a slew of migratory animals that come through their station every year. Waxahachie Fire Capt. Josh Anderson said the animals come in-and-out of the fire station, but they usually like to pop up most around the springtime.
“We have a lot of different things,” Anderson stated. “We’ve got bees, we’ve got doves. Sometimes there are snakes that come in here from the pond. We’ve got different types of animals.”
One of the station’s more frequent visitors, however, are the bees. Anderson expressed that there are two areas the bees like to patronize at the fire station. One is on the west end by the bay exit door, and the other is near the east end closer to the corner of the roof.
While the bees mark their territory in both spots, Anderson expressed that they are more commonly seen around the station’s west side.
“I heard them last shift,” Anderson stated. “They nest at the end of May. They come, leave and come back.”
Anderson stated that the station has been dealing with the bees for several years, ever since 2015. Waxahachie Fire Chief Ricky Boyd said the department has tried repeatedly to exterminate the bees with pest control in the past.
Their efforts have been met with little success.
"They're migratory," Boyd stated. "We’ve tried to get rid of them twice. They just keep coming back. You can spend tons of money every year trying to get rid of them for whatever reason, but the next year, you’re just going to have them all over again.”
Anderson stated their most recent efforts involved calling a beekeeper to come in and remove the queen from the bees’ hive. Anderson explained that the belief was if the queen went away, the rest of the hive would go away too.
“Instead of trying to kill them with poison, they tried to do it the natural way,” Anderson stated.
But just like with the previous extermination attempt, the bees didn’t stay away for long. Anderson theorized it was because the bees put honeycomb into the fire station’s walls.
The bees eventually returned to their regular spot at the fire station – although Anderson said their population wasn’t as large as it used to be.
“They still come and stop by, but they don’t stay like they used to before with the queen,” Anderson remarked.
Since then, Station Three's firefighters and the bees have mostly co-existed at the station whenever the bees migrate. Anderson estimated that the bees visit once, maybe twice a year.
And the bees aren’t a problem – for the most part. Anderson stated they only become one once they’re agitated on purpose.
“The only problem is they’re by a generator by the side of the door,” Anderson remarked. “That’s something people are sometimes worried about. We usually try not to bother with them. They usually just stay back there.”
Anderson doesn’t just see bees at his workplace, however. In the past, he’s had several of his own bee issues at home as well.
He’s dealt with both instances the same way – by leaving them alone.
“I have an old house here in Waxahachie,” Anderson remarked. “I have honeycomb in my walls. Every now and again, they’ll stop by. I even talked to somebody to help me with them. They said ‘We can come by, but they usually leave after a few days. If you wanted to wait a couple of days, they’ll leave.’ That’s what happened at my house.”
Boyd commented that it’s like the bees are on vacation. Station Three just happens to be a destination spot for them.
“When they’re flying through here every year, they may have been born somewhere along the way or their parents had them in a certain tree on a certain spot of land,” Boyd rationalized. “When they grow up, they come back to the same area. That’s the way I understand these bees. Station Three is just one of their stopping-off points during their migration.”
“They’re not going to give up on that spot,” Boyd added. “It’s their home away from home.”