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bee spill on the transcanada !?!


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with the number of bees being moved around to pollinate crops, it's remarkable that this sort of thing doesn't happen more often.

Trans-Canada Hwy. buzzes with action after truck spills millions of bees

June 30, 2008 - 15:12

ST. LEONARD, N.B. - Beekeepers in New Brunswick had the unenviable task Monday of recovering what were described as 12 million angry honeybees from a truck that overturned on the Trans-Canada Highway.

One beekeeper described the normally peaceable bees as "nasty" because of their ordeal on a return trip to Ontario after they were used to pollinate blueberry fields in the province.

RCMP Sgt. Derek Strong says the flatbed truck, carrying 330 crates of bees, was travelling on a highway ramp near St. Leonard in the northwest corner of the province, south of Quebec, when the load shifted and the truck overturned shortly after 6 a.m.

When the truck landed on its side, many of the crates - each containing four hives - broke open.

"With the impact they just went crazy," said beekeeper Edmond Bellefleur, who drove from his home in nearby Drummond to have a look.

"The ones that were able to get out, did get out. You could see some others sticking to the hives, but once they started to open the netting and unpacking the hives ... then they really started to fly, and they got nasty."

RCMP Sgt. Derek Strong said officials initially got lucky with the weather because it was raining at the time of the accident, but when the rain stopped, firefighters sprayed a mist on the overturned truck to help control the bees.

"Bees don't like to fly in the rain," said Jordan O'Brien, a spokesman for the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture

Seven beekeepers were called in to round them up.

The original plan was to try to flip the truck back onto its wheels, but officials from Agriculture Canada decided the best way to recover the insects was to move them, one crate at a time, to the second flatbed truck.

By mid-afternoon, police closed all four lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway and rerouted traffic around the area because of the number of sightseers. Strong said some came on motorcycles or in convertibles and were stung by the agitated bees.

Emergency personnel, including paramedics and ambulances were kept on standby.

"There can be quite a serious health concern," he said. "Many people are allergic to bees and even if they're not, multiple bee stings can be quite serious."

Police advised anyone with an allergy to bee stings to stay away from the community for the day.

The driver of the truck was not hurt.

Richard Duplain, vice president of the New Brunswick Beekeepers Association, said generally, honeybees won't sting unless they're being bothered.

"It's certainly not a situation where you want to tempt problems," said Duplain, adding honeybees die once they sting someone.

"Like a field with any agitated livestock, you're not going to go walking through the middle of it.

"You certainly don't want to go walking through a field of disoriented, agitated and wet honeybees."

Duplain said the bees would have likely died if they had dispersed into the countryside.

"Weather conditions, birds and so forth would take a toll on the unprotected bees," said Duplain, a beekeeper in Hanwell, N.B., for the past three years.

"They don't create their own paper nest like wasps or hornets or bumblebees. They're pretty much at risk to the elements if they're not under the care and attention of an experienced beekeeper."

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