Most of 15 million bees contained after bee-laden truck crashes

Most of 15 million bees contained after bee-laden truck crashes

CLINTON, Maine (AP) — A tractor-trailer hauling about 15 million honey bees to be used to pollinate blueberry fields crashed and overturned on Interstate 95, officials said.

The driver was taken to the hospital as a precaution Thursday night while first responders worked to ensure the safety of the bees that were in hives strapped on the trailer, which landed on its side, officials said.

The bees were mostly contained and the “goal was to save them,” said Shannon Moss, state police spokesperson.

First responders didn’t realize the cargo was bees until firefighters went down an embankment to check for leaking fluids, said Fire Chief Travis Leary.

They learned the hard way.

“The guys did get stung on a regular basis. Everyone got stung at least a couple of times,” said Leary, who suffered several bee stings.

The temperature in the 40s might have kept the bees from getting rowdier during the several hours it took to get the truck upright and removed by a tow truck, he said. A beekeeper was summoned to corral the bees, he added.

The truckload of bees was headed to Washington County, which is the center of the state’s wild blueberry industry. Bees are routinely trucked into the region to pollinate the blueberry barrens each spring.