Drivers asked to close windows as 5 million bees fall off truck

Drivers asked to close windows as 5 million bees fall off truck

Several local beekeepers were called in to help after some five million bees fell off a truck on Guelph Line in Burlington, north of Dundas Street. (Submitted by Luc Peters)

Beekeeper Luc Peters says he's found himself in "sticky" situations before but Wednesday morning was the first time he's ever had police call him for a bee-related emergency. 

Peters was one of several local beekeepers called in to help after some five million bees fell off a truck on Guelph Line in Burlington, north of Dundas Street.

Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) said officers were called to the area around 6:15 a.m. to respond to a truck with a trailer transporting bees. 

"We're not sure how or what exactly took place but at some point the boxes containing bees or beehives slid off the trailer and spilled all over the road," Ryan Anderson, media relations officer with HRPS told CBC News.

Though police said early afternoon the scene was cleared, drivers and nearby residents should keep their windows closed.

"It sounds bigger than it is for the most part, because a colony of bees could be 80,000 bees," said Peters, who takes care of the nearly 400,000 bees at nearby Royal Botanical Gardens.

"It kind of depends on how many colonies there are and no doubt to a non-beekeeper that would be rather intense to see regardless... It's important for people to understand that honey bees are fairly gentle and really don't bother people unless they are bothered. This is a rare situation where you have to keep your distance from them." 

A truck transporting a load of honey bees to a farm swerved on a road in Burlington, Ont., releasing five million bees into a residential neighbourhood. Beekeepers from all around heard the call for help and sprang into action to rescue the swarming bees.

Police said beekeepers were brought in "to help get the situation under control" and some beekeepers had been stung — though no one had been transported to hospital, Anderson said. 

Peters said getting stung is all in a day's work for a beekeeper. "I'm not fazed by it really," he said, though he called the incident an "unusual case" because normally this many bees would be staying inside their boxes. 

Peters spoke to CBC Hamilton en route to the scene earlier on Wednesday morning, saying his goal would be to try to identify the queen bee and get the queen inside a box. "The rest of the bees will follow," he said. 

Police thanked the "overwhelming response from beekeepers" in clearing the scene and said a driver was charged with two offences under the Highway Traffic Act, including insecure load.

Peters said he suspects the bees may have been coming back from a pollination service — when farmers hire beekeepers to pollinate their crops. 

"They are having the worse day out of all of us," Peters said of the bees.

Peters said "a few thousand bees" were likely killed as a result of the spill, but it will be some time before total losses are known.

Meanwhile, Anderson said there will be bees flying around in the area in the coming days.

"We're going to be leaving some crates behind. Some of the bees have escaped and we're hoping that they'll naturally return to these crates and we'll come back at a later date to pick them up once the bees have returned," he said.

"So, if any residents are in the area they may notice some crates that are still there. We ask that pedestrians continue to avoid the area. It's safe to drive as long as you have your windows rolled up but don't approach or touch these crates as we're hoping the bees will return and hopefully they'll get home."


Citizen TV Kenya citizen TV

Want to send us a story? SMS to 25170 or WhatsApp 0743570000 or Submit on Citizen Digital or email

Leave a Comment


No comments yet.

latest stories