I received an email today from a hiker that said their group encountered two different bee hives while hiking the the Mecca Hills Painted Canyon area. The bees are located at the two ladders in the main canyon, not at the ladders in the slot canyon. Here is the text from the email:
Just a note to let you know that a group of us did the painted canyon ladder hike today, Feb. 19,2016. The last two ladders that you descend in the open canyon area have two very active bee hives under the top of both ladders. Be very careful! You have to climb down a steep rock face to get to the first ladder and the second ladder has been moved as it was directly over the hive. Take care and if you have allergies avoid these ladders. Instead perhaps ascend and descend the same ladders.
Some of you may remember that there were active bee hives at the exact same locations a few years back, and didn’t go away until there was a flood in the canyon and washed the hives away. Well, apparently the bees have found their old home. My experience was that there were a lot of bees at those ladders at the time, but if you moved slow and didn’t bother them you were okay. However I always worried that because you kind of had to scramble around the hives that one could accidentally knock a rock into the hive, and my guess is they wouldn’t like that very much.
The image to the left is a not to scale drawing that shows the approximate location of the ladders with the bee hives, just click the image to enlarge it.
Like the email above says, one can avoid the area by just hiking the slot canyon and returning back the way you came, or you can be very careful in the area of the hives, or if you are allergic to bees you may want to say away from the area completely. If there are the same number of bees as in past years you might want to avoid the area until there are no more bees like I did. Yes, there were that many and it was kind of creepy. I will post any new information here that I get.
If you have hiked the area and saw, or didn’t see any bees pleas email me at email@example.com. While encountering bees may not be an issue with you, for others it could be a life or death issue if they have severe allergies. Thank you for taking the time to help keep us informed on this issue!