OTTAWA (AFP) - Mounties in eastern Canada were called in to help round up rogue honeybees after a palace coup this week caused a split in the hive, a spokeswoman said Thursday.
"The beekeeper came to us and said that he lost half of his bees, about 30,000 to 40,000 of them," said Cheryl Decker, spokeswoman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as the Mounties are officially known.
"He said they were last seen near a Tim Horton's" donut shop on the edge of town, said the spokeswoman for the detachment in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. "He wanted us to help him round them up."
"It's the first time that the police have been called in to help capture bees," she noted.
Beekeeper Rodney Dillinger told AFP the colony was likely "stressed" and became dissatisfied with their queen. So, they raised a rival queen and then sent her into exile.
But half of the hive left with the deposed queen to "look for a new home."
"It's a common occurrence and they are not dangerous, but they look ugly to people who are not familiar with bees and I'm worried someone may attack them with a broom or a stick," he said.
According to reports, the swarm has been mistaken for a bear in a tree and a dark cloud in flight.
Once located, Dillinger said the queen bee would be placed in a bee box to start a new hive, with the swarm expected to follow. "We haven't found them yet. But I know which direction they went," he said.