Beeware! The city's oldest, multi-storeyed market complex is under siege.
Built in 1975, Kamani Centre in Bistupur ' which today hosts 200-odd shops and offices, and witnesses a daily footfall of 4,000 ' is quite literally a hive of activity with bees buzzing at the complex every hour of the day.
Shoppers pointed out that the nearby main office building of LIC and a banyan tree along the adjacent N-Road were home to four beehives and every gust of wind brought the insects swarming to the marketplace, forcing them to run for cover. No one could, however, say when the sting army had made its stealthy entrance.
If the invasion is a cause of serious concern for shopkeepers and their customers, commuters passing by Kamani Centre and Jawahar Marklet are not spared either. Many have been attacked and quite a few stung in the recent past.
Vijay Kumar, who owns a sari shop on the first floor of the market, said two of his customers were summer victims of the spiteful swarm. "Being stung by a bee while on a shopping spree can be terrible. But, nobody seems to care about stemming the problem. When we approached the civic authorities, we were told to complain to the fire department. The latter too ignored our pleas," he said.
District fire officer Mahanand Singh at Golmuri had a bizarre solution to the problem ' wait for the bees to go away all by themselves. "It is not advisable to clear bees from their hives. It can be suicidal. If stirred, they can go on a stinging spree across a large area. Experience says that bees leave their hives after a few years. We should wait instead of applying force," he said.
President of Kamani Centre Traders' Association Ajay Gupta said they had also brought the matter to the notice of Jusco officials a couple of times, but in vain. "We had wanted the authorities to remove the beehives after the market closed (late in the evening). But, the authorities are yet to act," he added.
Jusco spokesperson Rajesh Rajan claimed they had not received any complaint so far. "Our officials will, however, pay a visit and devise a plan to remove the hives," he said.
According to experts, bees are less active at night and it is the best time to mount an attack on their nests, which can be sprayed with a potent insecticide till all residents are dead, brought down with a long pole and later burnt. Wearing covered clothes and using gloves and face nets is advisable during such an operation to avoid being stung by one of the fugitive bees.
After the hive is removed, the area needs to be washed and scrubbed thoroughly to get rid of any bee residue. This prevents a new swarm from tracking the scent of the former colony and making their own hive at the spot.
PS: Never attempt to remove a hive, if you are inexperienced in handling bees. Call in professionals.
Do you know any home remedy to treat bee sting? Tell firstname.lastname@example.org