Beekeeper Says 'I Hope to Never Experience It Again'

5M bees fell off a truck in Canada on Wednesday
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2023 1:00 AM CDT
Updated Sep 3, 2023 7:03 AM CDT
Beekeeper Says 'I Hope to Never Experience It Again'
Bees buzz around after a truck carrying bee hives swerved on Guelph Line road causing the hives to fall and release bees in Burlington, Ontario, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023.   (Carlos Osorio/The Canadian Press via AP)

"I hope to never experience it again," says a beekeeper who was asked to come to the rescue on Wednesday morning after 5 million bees toppled off a truck in Canada. Police phoned Michael Barber, owner of Tri-City Bee Rescue, and requested he assist at the scene in Burlington, Ontario; he got another dozen area beekeepers to join him. Drivers, meanwhile, were told to keep their windows shut.

The BBC reports the bees were in their hives and being trucked to their wintering location when the straps that were securing them became loose. The driver tells Global News he swerved when "something ran across, or a bag," then tried to swerve back. The hives went flying. The result, per Barber: "a pretty crazy cloud of bees" who were "very angry, confused and homeless." Barber tells the New York Times that while the scene was a potentially dangerous one, it was also a bit hilarious, as "none of the police or first responders would get out of their vehicles, so you had all of these beekeepers walking around in full suits, and everyone else staying a safe distance away."

The beekeepers fashioned the boxes back together, and "the bees did their thing," says Barber. He says that within a few hours most bees had returned to their hives, with a few hundred bee fatalities and some minor collateral damage among the humans: Some suited-up beekeepers were stung. The truck driver sustained more than 100 stings but wasn't seriously injured. (More bees stories.)

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