The NYPD's resident beekeepers are calling out the San Diego Padres for hiring an exterminator to eradicate a swarm of bees that stalled a game against the Miami Marlins at Petco Park on Sunday. On Twitter, NYPD Bees said that the situation during the afternoon game, which involved an exterminator dousing a swarm of bees to death on the Padres' home turf, "was not handled humanely."
Shortly after 4 p.m., the game was halted temporarily due to a "bee delay" when a swarm gathered onto a microphone close to the dugout. An exterminator from Cartwright Termite & Pest Control, the ballpark's resident pest control go-to and a Padres partner, came onto the field and sprayed the bees, killing them. He then used a vacuum to gather the dead bees.
— Barbara-Lee Edwards (@BarbaraLeeNews8) June 2, 2019
After the game, NYPD Bees joined the chorus of people online appalled that the Padres opted for an exterminator instead of a beekeeper to transport honeybees from the premises. Beekeepers have special vacuums that they can use to safely remove bees, as the NYPD has done when scooping up tens of thousands of stingy boys swarming around the city.
— Regina Todd (@reginatodd1) June 2, 2019
This really bothered me. That guy in a beekeeper suit was not a beekeeper. He was an exterminator. Most exterminators that I know of would have a beekeeper on call for jobs like this. Shame on that exterminating company and the exterminator himself. https://t.co/ZDmwNA1YTu
— NYPD Bees (@NYPDBees) June 3, 2019
The high-profile extermination comes as honeybee populations—which are key to pollinating billions of dollars' worth of crops—have dipped significantly—thanks in part to pesticides. According to a survey from the nonprofit Bee Informed, United States-based beekeepers saw their honeybee colonies drop roughly 40 percent from 2017 to 2018.
"In the interest of the safety of our guests, our pest control partner, Cartwright, removed the swarm of bees with a spray," Mark Guglielmo, Padres Senior Vice President of Ballpark Operations & General Manager of Petco Park said in a statement quoted by CBS. "They are on site and recommended this course of action to prevent any further danger to our fans, players and on-field personnel.”
MLB and Cartwright did not immediately reply to Gothamist's request for comment.