Parishioners in Newfoundland noticed a buzz around their church door, but their new congregants weren't what you would expect.

They were, in fact, old friends - around 30,000 honey bees who had been living in Corpus Christi Parish in St. John's, Newfoundland for three years.

But the existence of these additional parishioners was remarkable for another reason entirely.

"That's the first case of honey bees being able to survive here without the aid of a beekeeper," shared Paul Dinn of Adelaide's Newfoundland Honey and Adelaide's Honey Bee, Pollinator and Wildflower Reserve, one of only six commercial beekeepers in the province.

The church became alerted to the presence of the bees, Dinn says, only about a year ago, and it took until now to locate the colony.

Dinn, says that the bees were finally located right in the main entrance of the church. "Anytime there was anything happening with Sunday Mass or the baptism or a funeral, whatever, the bees were always there."

Honey bees present unusual circumstances when they are encountered. Because of their value and the risk of harm that could be caused to them, many exterminators are hesitant if not resistant to handling extraction of the bees. That's when Dinn received a call from the church.

"It was kind of late in the year to do anything with the bees at that point, so we said we [would] leave them until spring," Dinn said.

But another call from the church around Christmas informing the beekeepers that the swarm had migrated outside of their hive prompted action. "Sure enough I went out there and there were the honey bees flying inside the church."

They temporarily closed up the hole where they found the bees escaping from and then proceeded to finally remove the hive in warmer weather, along with around 15 pounds of honey found in reserve.

"What's amazing about that church is that it's over 100 years old," Dinn shared. For that reason, the beekeepers had a far more challenging extradition ahead of them, due to the numerous additional layers of wall that they had to get through to reach the bees. "There was (sic) walls upon walls to get through before we actually got in to where the bees were."

The buzz about these bees doesn't end there, however. Most impressively, in the entire three years that the bees were living inside the church walls, not a single person at the church was stung.

"Because they were so used to people being there, when we were first... inspecting and we were blocking off their entrance they would wait for us," Dinn says, "and when we moved out of the way, then they would all go into the hive, into the church. They wouldn't disturb us."

The bees have since joined Dinn and his wife, coming to live at their honey bee wildlife reserve, which has 10 acres dedicated to the protection of honey bees and natural pollinators in the province.

He says that the bees transitioned to life at the reserve very well.

"The biggest lesson I've learned has been that honey bees work together for the better of the whole... they work as one, and what I've learned is that they are much better at working together than we are," Dinn shared of his time tending to this sweet part of creation. "I think if we work to learn that lesson from the honey bees of how to work together and look after each other, the world would be perfect.

"It was a really amazing experience, and we really need to protect these bees, not only here but around the world."