August 30, 2023 | 3:05 p.m
It’s one way to generate some buzz.
Boxes containing 5 million bees fell off a truck in Canada early Wednesday morning, causing a difficult situation for a group of local beekeepers who flew in to collect the bumblebees from the road.
Halton Regional Police Service officers were called to the Guelph Line in Burlington, north of Dundas Street, at approximately 6:15 a.m. after a truck transporting the yellow and black insects lost its load.
“We’re not sure how or what exactly happened, but at some point, boxes containing bees or hives slipped out of the trailer and spread all over the road.” HRPS spokesman Ryan Anderson told CBC News.
Beekeeper Luke Peters, who was called by police to help, described the stuttering incident as an “unusual case.”
According to Peters, who cares for nearly 400,000 bees at the nearby Royal Botanic Gardens, such a large group of bees would normally stay inside their boxes rather than fly freely.
“It sounds bigger than it is most of the time, because a bee colony can contain 80,000 bees,” Peters said.
“It kind of depends on how many colonies there are, and the visibility of non-beekeepers will no doubt be fairly intense regardless… It’s important for people to understand that honey bees are fairly gentle and don’t bother people unless they’re bothered,” Peters added. : “This is a rare situation where you have to stay away from them.”
Police urged drivers passing through the area and nearby residents to keep their windows closed.
Shortly after 9 a.m., police said the bees were almost cleared.
“Thanks to the overwhelming response from beekeepers coming to help, we expect the scene to clear in approximately 30 minutes. The majority of the bees have been collected safely and the boxes will be moved away,” police said.
While several of the beekeepers they were helping were stung — which is normal in the business — no one needed to be taken to hospital.
Peters said the bees were likely returning from a pollination service, where farmers hire beekeepers to pollinate their crops when they remove waste from the truck.
“They (the bees) are having a worse day than all of us,” Peters added.