iN VIDEO: Kamloops family elated to find 20,000 bees in backyard - InfoNews

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iN VIDEO: Kamloops family elated to find 20,000 bees in backyard

Brent and Jeanine McFarlen are the proud new owners of around 20,000 honey bees.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Jeanine McFarlen
May 17, 2020 - 12:00 PM

For Jeanine McFarlen, finding a swarm of about 20,000 honey bees in her Westsyde backyard was a dream come true.

“I was in the house and my husband comes in and he said, 'There’s a swarm of bees outside'… I came out and sure enough, they were all huddled there in the tree, and I said, ‘Can we keep them?’”

Luckily, the McFarlen’s had a unique advantage in the situation.

“My husband when he was little, he used to go with his dad to go beekeeping,” McFarlen says. “My father-in-law, who lives with us, used to do beekeeping for a living about 25 years ago.”

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McFarlen says they turned to her father-in-law Chuck for advice when they found the bees swarming on the afternoon of May 13. He said there was likely another hive close by that got too full and had another queen, so some likely split off. The family soon set out to find a box to capture the bees in.

McFarlen says the time of day was in their favour, as the bees would soon be looking for a place to shelter overnight since they hadn’t yet built a hive. Her husband and father-in-law put a ladder atop of their backyard shed and tried to get the queen bee in.

“My father-in-law knew what he was doing, it was one good shake and he got it on the first try and he was only stung once,” McFarlen says. “We shook the branch and we got the queen in the box, we put sugar syrup in the box and they all just settled in… He was so excited. He was like, ‘Phew, I forgot about that kind of the adrenaline rush.’”

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McFarlen says the bees have been very calm and content in their new hive. She says her father-in-law is happy to get back to the beekeeping business, although they plan to use any honey harvested for their own family.

Brent McFarlen and his father Chuck had to scale a backyard shed with a ladder atop to capture the bees.
Brent McFarlen and his father Chuck had to scale a backyard shed with a ladder atop to capture the bees.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Jeanine McFarlen

The mother of two says they consider themselves very lucky to have found a swarm and says it’s an opportune learning experience for her five-year-old son.

“For Mother’s Day my husband built me a beautiful garden, a huge garden, and I had planted half of (the plants) and then the very next day the bees came,” McFarlen says. “With school being out for my son, he’s now learning about how to grow plants and how bees pollinate plants and it’s kind of like natural education.”

“It still feels like a dream because this just doesn’t happen.”

Credit: SUBMITTED / Jeanine McFarlen
The father and son duo had to scale a backyard shed to capture the thousands of bees.

This story was originally published May 16.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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