Social media is buzzing after a batch of bees was captured on camera swarming a sidewalk at a shopping mall in Saanich this week.
On Wednesday, May 25th, Zoe Anastasia posted a 14-second video to Facebook showing a bee swarm at Uptown Shopping Centre.
According to Anastasia, a beekeeper arrived on scene and said the hive went searching for its queen after she flew away.
“They found her in this spot on the sidewalk and swarmed around her,” Anastasia wrote to the Field Naturalists of Vancouver Island group.
“The queen, unfortunately, passed away, so now they are communicating with each other trying to figure out what to do next.”
Anastasia’s now thanking two Uptown security guards, calling them “amazing” and saying they watched over the bees so they could be left undisturbed.
“The beekeeper said they will pick a new queen and sort themselves out overnight,” she said.
By Thursday morning, the swarm was removed from the sidewalk by the Capital Region Beekeeper’s Association sporting their beekeeping gear.
However, in a turn of events, another video posted to Instagram by Lily Yee suggests no queen bee was found.
“An apiculturist (bee expert) was brought in and discovered there was no queen. It’s a rare occurrence, and the little guys will dwindle quickly, but if a new queen is introduced, it can work!” said Yee.
Kate Fraser of Victoria-based Bees Please Farms seconds that.
“If she was dead, she stops giving off her pheromone smell, so they’d have a much hard time finding her,” said Fraser.
“What that was was a regular swarm,” she explained.
“In the spring, a happy, healthy colony splits off into two colonies when it thinks times are good. That’s how nature reproduction would happen.”
Fraser notes that when an old, dwindling queen leaves its colony, about one-third or half of the bees follow her trail.
She says a friend tagged her in Anastasia’s video but tells Victoria Buzz that a swarm spotted on a sidewalk is seldom seen.
“This week, I have had two swarms that went onto the ground, which I’ve never seen before, but they were in gardens, so it was a little less weird,” added Fraser.
“But when they’re on concrete, it’s definitely bizarre.”