Jason Soldini has been working in Animal Control for the city of Pompano Beach since 1996. On an average day he might pick up dogs, put down a raccoon, and scrape some roadkill off the street. In 2005 he recalls hearing the city's meter readers routinely being attacked by giant black swarms of Africanized Honey Bees -- mean suckers whose stings can kill.
Soldini told New Times that the spread of the bees is cause for grave concern. In 2007 in Pompano alone, he says, the agency found 27 hives. In 2008, it found 61. As Soldini explains on his website, www.BeeXcluder.com, Florida is expected to be saturated with Africanized Honey Bees by 2012. These bees, he says, "are particularly attracted to in-ground water meter boxes, probably because there is a perfect bee-sized hole with a nice hollow cavity inside located about every 80 feet or so." Meter readers often don't see the bees until they open the box and disturb the hive. Landscapers are often attacked, because their mowers and weed whackers anger the insects.
Sensing opportunity, Soldini switched into entrepreneur mode and invented a device that can be adhered to the top of meter boxes -- it covers the "perfect bee-sized hole" and replaces it with a non-bee-friendly slit that still allows meter readers to access meters.
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Soldini has a patent pending for his invention and just made his first bulk sale -- a thousand Bee Xcluders to Broward County for less than a dollar apiece.