Saanich sanctuary still on the lookout for lost honeybee swarm

Honeybees swarmed Monday

The search continues for a missing honeybee swarm from a Saanich sanctuary.

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary has received several reports of bee swarm sightings after the Sanctuary put out a call for help to locate honeybees thought to have swarmed early Monday.

The most recent report came from an Oak Bay resident. The Sanctuary said beekeeper Alanna Morbin and executive director Kathleen Burton quickly went to the resident’s home to investigate. However, they determined the bees likely belonged to a different beekeeper nearby, not the sanctuary.

“Given the distance it was unlikely that the swarm belonged to us,” Burton said. “And more likely that by now our bees would have settled into a new home. There is a slim chance they have not yet settled but it is very slim.”

READ MORE: Saanich sanctuary asks residents to be(e) on the lookout for lost honeybee swarm

According to the Sanctuary, bees can only be removed if they have clumped in a swarm. Sanctuary bee keepers are not able to remove bees that are flying around, visiting plants, ponds, birdbaths, swimming pools or hot tubs. They say they are only looking for honey bees and are not able to remove wasps, carpenter bees or bumblebees.

The Sanctuary said as of Friday, the swarm at the Oak Bay resident’s home was still high up in the trees and had not come down to a bee box left for them overnight. Even though the bees do not belong to the Sanctuary, a spokesperson said they would still like to return them to the beekeeper nearby.

“As for an update on the Sanctuary bees, staff are still hopeful a Saanich resident or another beekeeper will notice the bees have taken up residence nearby and call us,” Burton said. “Should a beekeeper catch the swarm, they should note the marked queen and under the beekeepers code, call the Sanctuary to report her having been found. We would gladly reward her return with a couple of jars of local honey.”

READ ALSO: How worried should we be about the bees?

Staff and volunteers are disappointed to have lost the queen but joked that if the new queen emerges on Tuesday, the Sanctuary can name her Queen Victoria.

Honeybee populations are in decline and the Sanctuary is asking the public to contact them if the swarm is spotted for fast, free and safe swarm removal.

The Sanctuary says don’t call pest control or exterminators as they want to give the bees a loving home in the Nature House observation hive or the Bee Keeper’s apiary.

If you find the swarm contact Alanna Morbin, Swan Lake Bee Keeper at 778-977-3134 or email hunaja7@gmail.com.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


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