Thirsty Bees Close California Campground

by Jack T. Wilder

Two parts of famed Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California are shut down after angry honey bees took over the park.

Jumbo Rocks campground closed July 9 and Cottonwood campground. This includes a visitor center, that shuttered July 13, after swarms of aggressive honey bees moved into those areas.

Thankfully, no murder hornets spotted there…yet.

Joshua Tree National Park representative Hannah Schwalbe told CNN this week that honey bees are a part of the park’s DNA. And they get thirsty in the summer and seek out water from new sources.

In Search of…Water

“It’s been really hot, so a lot of their water sources are drying up, and they’re thirsty just like how a lot of our visitors get when they come to visit the desert,” Schwalbe said.

When natural sources of water dry up, Schwalbe said they begin to seek out other sources of water. This includes examples such as water bottles or air conditioning units in cars that humans bring into the park. This can sometimes lead to confrontations and bee stings.

“It is really intimidating when you get out of your car and there’s a huge swarm of bees that are looking for the water off of your air conditioning unit,” Schwalbe told CNN.

About 35% of the campgrounds at Joshua Tree are shut down due to the aggressive honey bees. But unlike other parks, summer is their offseason due to the extreme desert heat. So visitors shouldn’t have trouble finding a campsite if they need one.