Honey bees being kept on the roof of the Delta Beausejour hotel in Moncton have been creating a bit of a buzz lately.
A swarm of them was spotted in the downtown area last week.
"It's nothing to worry about, it's just a little swarm," said Stefan Müller, the hotel's executive chef.
He says the bees are calm and pose no threat to passersby.
Hotel staff quickly return any stray swarms to the hotel rooftop, he said.
"Once we see the swarm, we follow them and wherever they settled down we collect them. As soon as we have the queen, the rest of the bees will follow."
Five years ago, the Delta set up a hive on the hotel's rooftop garden to provide honey for the hotel restaurant and to help repopulate the world's honey bees.
"Without bees there won't be any pollination, without pollination there won't be any food for us to eat. So bees are very important to us as human beings to our well being and capability of eating," said Müller.
The single hive has since grown to five.
Müller says once in a while a queen bee will relocate, along with thousands of devoted followers.
People are generally intrigued by the sight, he said.
"A lot of people are positively surprised we can actually have honey bees in the middle of an urban area," said Müller.
"At first for some people it might be a little overwhelming — they're not sure what to do with it because honey bees are getting rarer and rarer. So there's a lot of interest when that happens. A lot of people stop by."
The bees not only pollinate the hotel's rooftop garden, but also any flowers within a 13-kilometre radius, he said.
The Crowne Plaza in Fredericton also has an urban bee population that was started to make honey for the hotel’s customers.
A recent report found New Brunswick had the second highest rate of wintering losses of honey bee colonies in Canada.
The report by the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists said Ontario lost 58 per cent of its honey bee colonies over the winter, followed by New Brunswick at 26.3 per cent.
About 25 per cent of the country's bees did not survive the winter, the report said.