Swarm of bees forces gas station to close on Isle Madame
This gas station in D'Escousse, N.S., was buzzing yesterday for the most unusual of reasons.
“I told them it's free gas today, if you want to go and pump it yourself,” said store owner Ray LeBlanc.
A swarm of bees covered LeBlanc’s gas pump for more than three hours, forcing him to close his business on Isle Madame.
“I’d say there was anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000,” said Leblanc. “I’d say half a hive, and there’s 45,000 in a hive.
LeBlanc says the bees came from his neighbour, Julie Kirkpatrick, a lawyer who has been beekeeping with her husband for three years now.
“We needed to get the queen into a bin and then all of the other bees would follow because that's where the bees want to be is with the queen,” said Kirkpatrick.
That's when Kirkpatrick and LeBlanc, who was also a beekeeper for several years, got together and came up with a plan. They were able to find the queen in the middle of the pack.
“It took maybe an hour or an hour and a half to get them all in,” said Kirkpatrick. “They were pretty docile, they weren't angry at all. They were just looking for a new home.”
As residents watched from a distance. LeBlanc rounded up the bees wearing no protective clothing at all.
“I dealt with swarms before and they generally don't bite you,” LeBlanc said. “If you don't bother them, they're pretty friendly.”
But not friendly enough. LeBlanc says he was stung once under his chin. But despite the pain, he was more interested in getting the bees to safety.
LeBlanc believes there were two queen bees at the original hive, which caused one queen to leave the colony with her swarm, eventually finding a home at LeBlanc's store.
“It's a hard job getting them all, especially on a flat surface like that,” said LeBlanc. “I used to get mine in a tree. I'd cut the branch and walk away with it.”
It was a dramatic rescue that still has the tiny Cape Breton community buzzing.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.