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Posts tagged: Airport Wildlife Hazards Program

Protecting Agriculture, One Hive at a Time

When startled by a swarm of flying and buzzing insects, complete with stingers, the common response may be to grab an aerosol can of insecticide; but appreciating the vital importance of honey bees to agriculture and knowing something of various difficulties currently faced by bees, alternative actions are warranted.

Recently my staff noticed a huddled mass of what turned out to be bees in the lot by our office and shop.  We looked for a queen but left the swarm alone.  It later became apparent the bees had created a home under flashing at the building’s roof line, which seemed an inopportune location both for the bees and my staff.

We encouraged our landlord to consider relocation of the hive and were amazed to watch the process when Charlie Reffitt showed up one May morning.  In shorts and T-shirt, he climbed 20 feet up a ladder, with bees swirling around.  He inserted a funnel-like device into the hive under the flashing, caulking all other entrances.   He secured a cardboard box on the roof, populated with a queen and initial colony. Read more »

Keeping Terrapins Away from JFK

An adult Diamondback terrapin too close to the JFK runway. Courtesy of Jenny Mastanuono.

An adult Diamondback terrapin too close to the JFK runway. Courtesy of Jenny Mastanuono.

It’s been a busy spring for USDA Wildlife Services’ biologist Jenny Mastantuono and her staff, who work at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport solving wildlife conflicts with people and planes. Read more »

Safer Skies for Navy Fliers and Vultures

Windscreen damage to a training helicopter.

Windscreen damage to a training helicopter.

Bringing USDA expertise into a cooperative effort with the U.S. Navy and a telecommunications company recently made flying safer for hundreds of vultures and Navy aviators near Milton, Fla. Read more »

USDA Keeps Military Flying Safely in Nebraska

Marie Griffin and/or Steve Baumann hold raptors that will be relocated

Marie Griffin holds a raptor that will be relocated.

For APHIS Wildlife Services employees Marie Griffin and Steve Baumann, being recognized as “Outstanding Performers” by the U.S. Air Force’s 55th Wing is an honor. But the most rewarding feeling comes at the end of each work day, after none of the aircraft at Nebraska’s Offutt Air Force Base incurs a damaging wildlife strike. Read more »

Thoughts on Joint Base Balad, Iraq

JC Griffin on the scene at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

JC Griffin on the scene at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

After a rather interesting C-130 tactical landing to avoid enemy fire, my first sight of Iraq was at night.  My first thought was how far I was from home, but a gaze upward revealed familiar stars and constellations. I felt relieved knowing that I was still indeed on planet Earth–even after traveling for 50 hours. Read more »