Drivers near Toronto, Canada were warned to keep their car windows shut Wednesday after crates containing millions of bees fell off a truck on a highway — leaving the creatures swarming the scene.
Halton Regional Police Service announced on social media that officers were responding to an incident involving 5 million bees on the roadway of Guelph Line, in Burlington, Ontario, which is located about 50 miles west of Toronto.
Guelph Ln north of Dundas – Officers dealing with load of 5 million bees fallen off truck onto roadway. Passing vehicles/residents advised to close windows & pedestrians avoid area until clear. ^jwf pic.twitter.com/evuVoyL1Fc— HRPS Burlington (@HRPSBurl) August 30, 2023
Officer Ryan Anderson told The Canadian Press, that police had received a call around 6:15 a.m. that the bees had gotten loose and said the creatures had created “quite the scene,” reported the Associated Press,
“Crates literally on the road and swarms of bees flying around,” he added. “The initial beekeeper that was on scene was apparently stung a few times.”
Police warned passing drivers to close windows and for pedestrians to “avoid” the area until they cleared the bees. They were eventually able to clear out most of the bees from the area thanks to an “overwhelming response from beekeepers coming to help,” they said in a follow-up tweet.
Anderson told The Canadian Press that six or seven beekeepers arrived on the scene to help deal with the situation approximately an hour after police put out a notice on social media, reported AP.
While the majority of bees had “been safely collected” and the crates “hauled away,” police also said some crates would be left behind for the bees that scattered off to “naturally return to.”
They asked that people continue avoiding the area and not approach or touch the crates left behind for the bees and said those would eventually be collected once the animals returned home.
A colony of honey bees in the summer can contain anywhere between 50,000-80,000 bees, which can fly up to 15 mph, according to the Canadian Honey Council, a national organization of the beekeeping industry.
It also noted that a queen bee may lay 2,000 eggs per day during her busy season, with the average life of a honey bee during the working season lasting about six weeks.