Highway horror after 25 million bees escape in Utah truck crash, attack drivers, first responders

  • 03/07/2022
The aftermath of the crash.
The aftermath of the crash. Photo credit: Park City Fire District / Facebook

More than 25 million irate bees escaped in a US truck crash earlier this week, stinging the first responders who attempted to control the situation.

On Monday, a semitrailer truck hauling boxes of bees overturned on a Utah highway, unleashing the insects into the air.

Utah Highway Patrol Lieutenant Randall Richey told The Washington Post they subsequently started attacking anyone nearby.

"We were telling drivers to roll up windows and keep moving," he said, adding both the driver and a co-driver were hospitalised after suffering minor injuries and numerous bee stings.

LT Richey told The Washington Post that in the aftermath the owner asked for the bees to be sprayed with firefighting foam - which is deadly to them - to prevent any further danger or liability issues.

Julie Arthur, the president of the Wasatch Beekeepers Association, told CNN a volunteer team staged a rescue mission the next day.

She described a terrible sight, the accident scene littered with honey, honeycomb and piles of dead bees. Fortunately, several million had escaped alive.

"We found a huge pile of bees on the back of the hillside," she told CNN, adding the "wall of bees" was eight feet long 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," she said.

Altogether, she said around 10 percent of the escaped bees were recaptured and will be rehomed.

The crash investigation is ongoing.