More than 10 million bees were released after a semi-truck crashed on Interstate 80 in Utah earlier in the week. Officials said that the driver, who is a commercial beekeeper, tipped over after going around a curve too fast. The beekeeper had to be hospitalized due to injuries he sustained in the crash and numerous beestings.
Several officers who responded to the crash were also stung by the honeybees.
The crash spilled over 400 boxes of bees, which are used to pollinate crops across the country. Each box contains between 50,000-100,000 honeybees.
The beekeeper told authorities it wasn’t worth trying to capture the honeybees and that most of the equipment was badly damaged. Julie Arthur, president of the Wasatch Beekeepers’ Association, told CNN that she received a call the next day to help clean up the “gigantic mess” that was left on the highway, noting that some of the honeycombs were melting in the hot sun, while many of the boxes were covered in thick foam used by the firefighters.
“Little of the equipment was salvageable,” Arthur said. “But we found a huge pile of bees on the back of the hillside.” She described the pile as “a wall of bees,” eight feet long, four feet deep, and five feet high.
“We just started piling bees into boxes as fast as we could. They were not nice. They had just been dumped off a truck, and most of them had lost their queen.”
Arthur said that the rescued bees will be given to local beekeepers and used to help teach new beekeepers.