Highway Bee Swarm: 20 Million Bees And 460 Hives Spilled After Truck Wreck

A highway bee swarm in Wilmington, Delaware hindered efforts of state police to get things back to normal after a truck accident Tuesday night. USA Today reports that between 16 million and 20 million bees clouded the I-95 highway after a truck hauling them from Florida to Maine turned over on its side.

Reports indicate that 460 hives housed the bees before swarms of them unleashed. A 55-year-old truck driver and two male passengers were transported to Christiana Hospital following the wreck. The driver is fine after a minor arm injury and the two men, ages 24 and 25, are recovering from 50 to 100 bee stings.

Speaking to reporters, Sgt. Paul G. Shavack says the bee swarm was so big that police couldn’t “even get close to the truck.” Diverting traffic interrupted travel a few hours.

FOX News reports that this incident gave police a chance to use their honeybee swarm removal plan. It’s a “what-if” plan that was established in 1995 and saved for instances such as this. Shavack says on-call bee handlers were able to work with firefighters in controlling the bees by spraying them with water; it was a calming method in order to get them to disperse. Shavack shares of calling bee handlers to the scene:

“We got a hold of one of those bee providers and he came right out. He called for additional resources.”

According to the report, the bees continued to get hosed down until dusk. They tend to be less active when it’s dark and cooler outside. Shavack says, “When it’s dark, the bees won’t fly, the bees will crawl.”

So what happened to the swarm of bees that bombarded the highway? Handlers were able to assess the situation closer once darkness set in. They inspected hauling crates to determine if any bees could be salvaged. Not much could be done at that point, unfortunately.

For the honeybees remaining, unidentified bee handlers were allowed to keep the bees.

“They were authorized to do that by the trucking company,” Shavack said.

No value is given for the amount of bees lost from the highway accident. Shavack did say that there are “still some bees out there.”

In related articles by The Inquisitr, honeybees are falling victim to deaths in large numbers. In the latest of stories published on this site, one article brought attention to the record-number of bees dying in Australia and that due to a harsh winter in Iowa, honeybees were killed in a massive amount as well.

An accident on any highway is bad enough, but adding a bee swarm to the mix compounds a dangerous situation fast. Luckily, no deaths or major injuries occurred from the truck accident.

[Image via John J. Jankowski Jr., The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal]

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