The Village of Alix community was literally buzzing the first week of July as curious residents were busy as bees trying to ascertain the purpose of some strange boxes hanging on power poles in and around the community.
As it turns out the boxes are likely related to the beekeeping industry.
The issue first arose at the July 6 regular meeting of Alix village council, where Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White noted the village office received inquiries from several residents regarding some strange boxes that appeared to be hung on several power poles in and around the village; the boxes appeared similar to a bird house but with a spike protruding from a hole apparently to keep birds out of the box.
White reported several residents also submitted photos of the boxes.
The CAO noted in an interview the village didn’t know what the boxes were or who mounted them on the power poles.
“The boxes are not Village of Alix property,” stated White in a July 7 email.
“They pose no problem for the village or municipal infrastructure, but we have received several calls of concern from residents as they appear to be somewhat haphazardly installed on various power poles in and around the community.”
The ECA Review forwarded one of the photos to Alberta Environment to see if the boxes were part of a wildlife program, but it turns out that’s not the case.
“This is nothing Environment and Parks was involved with, but a couple of our people think it might be a bee box,” stated Jason Penner, communications advisor, Alberta Environment & Parks.
Lacombe County was also contacted to see if their agriculture department was familiar with the boxes or their owner, but to no benefit.
“Our best guess is that these boxes are bee swarm traps,” stated a July 7 email from Mike Bates, manager of Agriculture and Environmental Services. “I would encourage you to reach out to the Alberta Beekeepers Commission to learn more if you wish.”
The photo and information was forwarded to the Alberta Beekeepers Commission July 7.
Alberta Bee Commission Executive Director Connie Phillips responded in an email, “It does look like a bee box, but I don’t see any bees flying around…Perhaps it is being used as a bird’s nest.”
Fortis Alberta, which owns power poles in the Alix area, investigated the boxes and stated nothing seemed to be amiss.
“Our local team has gone and checked both locations,” stated Tanya Croft, manager, Communications, in an email July 8.
“Neither one appears to be inhabited by anything. The pole in question could be a private driveway and/or land.”
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review