'Apocalypse of bees' hits Montreal neighbourhood
Published Tuesday, June 24, 2014 10:32PM EDT
The Montreal, Que. neighbourhood of Lachine was all abuzz on Tuesday as a massive colony of bees swept through the area before coming to rest on nearby tree.
Lachine resident James Westover described the colony’s arrival as an “apocalypse of bees.” The swarm is estimated to have contained more than 30,000 insects.
“The sky was full of bees, covered with bees,” he told CTV News. “It was insane. I never saw something like that in my life.”
Westover called the city, and the city called bee expert Alexandre Beaudoin and his team. Dressed only in street clothes, Beaudoin climbed the tree where the bees were nesting and vacuumed them up into carrying boxes. He and his team then relocated the bees to a safer area.
“We like to help people when people are afraid of bees in the city,” Beaudoin told CTV News.
Beaudoin, a biodiversity consultant at the University of Montreal, said the wayward colony may have been an urban beekeeper’s hive, perhaps looking for greener pastures.
Or at least, pastures with more flowers.
“We all know that bees are not going well right now,” he said. “We’ve heard a bit about the colony collapse disorder, which is like the extinction of the bees, so people want to help.”
Many would-be bee saviours have embraced urban beekeeping as a way to keep the honey-makers around. But Beaudoin said that’s not the answer, as city bees often struggle to find food sources in urban environments. “The idea is not to have one more hive in town. The idea is to change your grass for clover, or thyme, or something like that. Just put flowers that will help the pollinators to feed themselves,” Beaudoin said.
It’s not the first time Beaudoin has played honey bee hero. Two weeks ago, emergency responders called him in to remove a colony of bees from the back of a parked car in downtown Montreal. For that case, Beaudoin found the colony’s queen and relocated it. The rest of the swarm followed.
Starving bee colonies have been known to migrate en masse in search of a better place to live.
With files from CTV Montreal