The buzz about Redwater’s bee rescue

Published: Sep 16, 2020

Bees work to help provide food for the global population, so to further Nutrien’s mission of feeding the future, these fuzzy insects need to be protected. 

When employees at our Nitrogen facility in Redwater, Alberta noticed a swarm of bees above a piece of equipment at the site’s ammonia plant, they knew they needed to remove the bees without compromising their own safety or that of the insects.

And the Redwater team knew just who to call: Shane Fairchild – an avid beekeeper and former Redwater employee who now works as an Operator at Nutrien’s Fort Saskatchewan site, located about 30 minutes to the southwest.

Wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment for a beekeeper, Shane hauled an empty bee box and a couple frames of honey up to the spot where the bees were camped out.

Reaching into the center of the swarm, Shane allowed the bees to grab hold of his gloved hand and then deposited them into the box. He carefully put handfuls of the insects inside, waited for them to settle down and then repeated the process until he had captured about two thirds of the swarm.

The rest began lining up outside the entrance of the box, indicating to Shane that the queen bee was likely inside. The bees outside were fanning out the queen’s pheromones to let the rest of the swarm know to enter the box.

The bees are now safely buzzing around the foliage on Shane’s property – they’re one of 17 hives that he and his wife look after.
“Bees and their plight have been in focus so much in the last decade, and we decided we had the time and the means to do our part,” says Shane. “The importance of bees to our survival can’t be stressed enough – it’s shown that 75 percent of the crops that produce fruits, vegetables and seeds for human consumption are made possible by pollinators.”

Shane encourages others to help do their part by planting flowers and other pollinator-friendly plants at home and becoming more educated on the critical role bees and other pollinators play in feeding a growing global population.

Bee Rescue