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Bees are camping out at Joshua Tree, forcing closure of popular Key’s View

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People check out the Key’s View area in Joshua Tree in 2016. The area was closed for more than a week due to a swarm of bees.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

A swarm of bees is taking an extended vacation at a Joshua Tree viewing area, leading officials to close a popular viewpoint in the park for more than a week.

Key’s View — a vista with a panoramic view of the Coachella Valley — will be closed Monday through July 2 while park employees monitor the bees’ activity.

George Land, a spokesman for the park, said the insects had gathered near the air conditioning condensers in visitors’ vehicles, attracted by the moisture there. As temperatures warm, the bees tend to migrate to where they can find enough moisture for their hives, Land said.

“We haven’t had any stinging issues, knock on wood,” Land said, adding that the closure is a precautionary measure. “We’re hoping they … move on somewhere else.”

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Bees use water to cool their hives, which require about a liter or more every day during the summer. Park officials are removing bee buckets in the area and are not allowing visitors to dump water bottles or use AC condenser units.

The bees eventually will lose their water source and, park officials hope, move on, Land said.

The closure isn’t all that unusual. Bees often swarm in areas of the park during the summer.

Jumbo Rocks Campground, for example, closed in 2007 and again in 2015. Campsites attract bees because of trash left behind, such as soda cans and water bottles, park officials said.

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alejandra.reyesvelarde@latimes.com

Twitter: @r_valejandra


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