Joshua Tree Shuts Down Campground Because of 'Aggressive' Honey Bees

Jumbo Rocks Campground will be closed until July 23.

Joshua Tree National Park

“Aggressive” honey bees have shut down a campground in California’s Joshua Tree National Park.

According to the park website, "Jumbo Rocks Campground is closed July 9–23 due to aggressive honey bee activity.”

“There were a couple of vehicles with a lot of bees in them. And campsites. Visitors were very uncomfortable,” Joshua Tree Superintendent David Smith told the Los Angeles Times.

No stings or injuries were reported due to the honey bees. But swarms at Joshua Tree are not altogether unusual.

Last year, a swarm of bees shut down a popular overlook in the park during the hot summer months. “Bees require this extra water to cool their hives during the hottest days,” park officials told local news at the time. “They will pester visitors for their water bottles, the condensation from their vehicle air conditioners and even for their sweat.”

By clearing the campground of human activity, the bees will be forced to seek water at other places in the park — like the dams or springs inside the park.

Jumbo Rocks Campground has 124 reservable sites and is located west of the park’s Pinto Basin Road. No other campgrounds are affected by the closure but through Sept. 4, due to coronavirus reopening protocol, all campsites at the park are only available on a first-come, first-served basis. Group campsites are temporarily limited to 25 people.

Visitors to the greater Jumbo Rocks area are urged to exercise caution due to the bees. They are out in larger droves due to the heat at Joshua Tree, which could continue through this weekend. The National Weather Service issued an Excessive Heat Watch from Saturday, July 11 through Monday, July 13. Visitors are urged to avoid outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day.

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