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Post office turns into honey factory

Posted: June 24, 2011 10:49 p.m.
Updated: June 24, 2011 10:49 p.m.

A swarm of bees cling to the roof of the U.S. Post Office in Newhall on Tuesday.

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Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail, nor bees buzzing around the Newhall Post Office shall keep mail carriers or sting-fearful customers away.

This local twist on the popular postman’s pledge could become the new tune sung by anyone visiting the United States Postal Service outlet at the Valencia Lyons Plaza on Lyons and Peachland Avenues.

A swarm of bees poised over the front door, high in the rafters of the shopping center’s awning, has swelled, by some accounts, to larger than a basketball.

“No one has told us about being stung,” said postal Supervisor Terry Brown.

“I did have someone notify us about the bees, to tell us we had bees,” she said. “That was on Wednesday. On Thursday, I notified the (shopping center) landlord.”

A call placed to the landlord was not returned Friday.

Meanwhile, the Santa Clarita Valley’s oldest post office remains abuzz over talk about how best to deal with the gathering swarm, which buzzes over the heads of people posting letters, picking up mail and checking their postal boxes.

“I just think it should be moved and not destroyed,” patron Laura Brinkoetter said.

Whether the bees will be removed or left to their own honey-making devices remains to be seen.

The burgeoning hive under construction is slowly dripping honey and forming a sticky pool on the sidewalk below it, sweetening the experience of all visitors to the strip mall.

On Friday morning, witnesses watched a worker wearing a hard hat rise near the bee hive on a hydraulic scissors lift.

And, although the worker came nose to nose with the swarm, he was actually there to repair a light standard.

“That’s something he’s taking into account right now,” said the man’s boss, Fernando Morales, referring to the raised worker being stung.

“No one warned us in advance of this hive,” he said.

And, as Morales watched, worried for his co-worker, he relayed the details of his own private bee swarm at his home — a problem solved, he said, by an exterminator.

For Will Pena, who works next door to the post office at Smart & Final, the solution is simple.

“My thinking is, ‘If I don’t bother them, they won’t bother me,” he said, adding “But it’s not like I’m going to go up to the beehive or anything.”

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