A new foster program in Calgary will pair unwanted bee colonies with willing homeowners.

A bee advocacy group has been fielding calls over the past year from concerned urbanites finding bumblebee nests in problem locations, such as under the porch.

Volunteers with the Community Pollinator Foundation are going to try to find new homes for bees in such circumstances.

"It's not a good thing to destroy bumble bee colonies because basically bumblebees are extremely beneficial," said Robin Owen, a professor at Mount Royal University. "The idea is to take these colonies, put them in boxes and move them, hopefully not too far, so other people can look after them."

He is leading a research project connected to the foster program and will collect more information on the habits of Calgary bees.


A bumblebee leaves a flower after gathering pollen. (Tony Dejak/Associated Press)

Calgary has more than 20 species of bumblebees, some gentler than others, he said.

"They really won't do you any harm unless you threaten them directly."

Owen blames the decline of bumblebees in recent years mostly on habitat loss and pesticide use.