Southwestern College recently exterminated nearly 5,000 bees swarming a parking lot, the student paper reported Wednesday, despite what it called state and federal laws against it.

Western honey bee. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

“A clustered swarm of bees was discovered by Chula Vista police near student parking and the area was closed down before a college landscaping employee contacted Carlos Richardson, photography lab technician and go-to beekeeper at SWC,” wrote student journalist Jose Luis Baylon.

But Richardson — who called the swarm a routine, nonlethal cluster — was quoted as saying: “They don’t bother anybody. You let them survive and in a day they’re gone.” The college groundskeeping crew said the Western honey bees were essential to campus.

The Sun newspaper story didn’t say when the bees were killed but noted California’s Apiary Protection Act “enforces 16 articles which deem proper legal steps in order to take possession of a bee colony, distribute their honey or transport it. SWC, by reflexively killing 5,000 bees, likely violated state and federal law.”

The bees reportedly swarmed Parking Lot J near DeVore Stadium on the north side of the campus.

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