Canadian beekeepers were called to rescue 5 million bees that got loose after the crates they were transported in fell off a truck in Burlington, Ontario, creating a swarm that one beekeeper said was like “a million little helicopters flying around you.”
The Halton Regional Police Service was alerted to the insect swarm at 6:15 a.m. local time on Wednesday, according to the privately owned Canadian national news agency, the Canadian Press.
“Crates literally on the road and swarms of bees flying around,” HRP’s media relations officer, Constable Ryan Anderson, told the Canadian Press.
Police posted a notice on social media about an hour after receiving the call, warning drivers and nearby residents to keep their windows shut and telling pedestrians to avoid the area.
Beekeepers swarmed to the scene to help police collect the honeyed insects.
Responding beekeeper Michael Barber, owner of Tri-City Bee Rescue in Guelph, Ontario, said that the cloud of buzzing bees darkened the sky and was so loud that he could not hear his phone ring.
“When you’re in that cloud of bees, it’s actually quite loud — a million little helicopters flying around you,” Mr. Barber explained to The New York Times.
Mr. Barber told the BBC that the driver of the initial truck carrying the bees was stung more 100 times as he was not wearing a full beekeeper suit.
The driver received help from paramedics on the scene. There were no other reports of serious injury or people being swarmed and no one was hospitalized, thanks to the help provided by the beekeepers.
“We probably didn’t know we had so many beekeepers in the area. … Their expertise was certainly appreciated and needed in what’s a unique situation for sure,” Constable Anderson told CTV News Toronto.
By 9:12 a.m., most of the bees had been collected, police posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. Crates were left behind for the remainder to return to, and the scene was cleared by 9:45 a.m.
“I don’t know where the bees were going or where they’re coming from, but they’re leaving, so we’re happy about that,” Constable Anderson said, the Canadian Press reported.
Mr. Barber told the BBC: “It was something else. I hope to never experience it again.”