Bee swarm removed from truck in downtown Winnipeg
Ed Wesa saw something Thursday afternoon he has never had the chance to see before – a swarm of around 50, 000 honey bees right in the middle of Winnipeg.
Wesa did not run away and hide, he took a video.
"They were buzzing around my head when I was going in to take a video,” Wesa said.
He did not get stung that is no surprise to beekeeper Chris Kirouac, who runs Beeproject Apiaries
"The swarm is most docile state of the hive,” Kirouac explained. “So they have nothing to protect, they eat a whole bunch of honey before they leave the hive in order to sustain themselves for a couple days while they set up a new site."
Kirouac said swarming bees are simply looking to establish a new hive – it's part of their natural reproduction process. He explained the bees chose a truck as a temporary stop while scouting a place for their next hive.
"It's actually a sign that you have really healthy bees that are doing really well and think there's plenty of food around, which is a great sign for urban beekeeping here in Winnipeg in our setting, but people do get a little intimidated."
He captured the swarming bees in plain clothes, removing the queen bee with his bare hands followed by the rest of the colony and put them in a box.
The bees will be taken to FortWhyte Alive where Kirouac manages an apiary.
The city gave the green light to urban beekeeping this past February, as long as the bees are kept on rooftops or in fenced-off areas.
With more bees in the city, beekeepers say it is possible the city may see more swarms.
However, that doesn't seem to bother most Winnipeggers.
"I guess if your allergic to bees it could be a concern,” resident Dornel Collison said. “But they so rarely would swarm people though, right."
"You hear about the decreasing bee population, so if we can do something to help why wouldn't we," resident Boni Collison added.
Kirouac has hives in seven locations throughout the downtown.
He said the swarming bees most likely came from somewhere in or around the downtown – he doesn't think they came from one of his hives.
"In this case we don't know exactly where the swarm came from, the hives nearby, look like they're haven't swarmed but there's obviously hobbyists and other people around keeping bees here,” he explained.
“It'll be a learning experience for people in the city to know what do I do when I see a swarm, I call a beekeeper and I stand back and I take a video."
Kirouac said beekeepers do their best to prevent bees from roaming free, but it can happen.
The city said it has not received any complaints about urban beekeeping in downtown Winnipeg.
It recently held a round of public consultations to see if residents support expanding urban beekeeping to other parts of the city.
Staff are putting together a report to present to city council.