20M Bees Swarm Delaware Highway After Tractor Trailer Crash

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    NEWSLETTERS

    An overturned truck carrying about 20 million bees shut down part of I-95 for hours. (Published Wednesday, May 21, 2014)

    Local beekeepers kept busy throughout the night as they corralled millions of bees that swarmed a ramp on I-95 after a tractor-trailer crash in Delaware on Tuesday evening.

    Millions of Bees Escape After Truck Overturns

    [PHI] Millions of Bees Escape After Truck Overturns
    Millions of bees swarmed a ramp on I-95 in Newark, DE, after a tractor trailer crash Tuesday. NBC10's Keith Jones spoke to a local beekeeper on the scene, who says the bees were being shipped to Maine. Crews rushed to get the scene cleaned up by the Wednesday morning rush. (Published Tuesday, May 20, 2014)

    The big rig, which was holding about 20 million bees in 460 boxes, overturned on the state Route 896 northbound on-ramp to I-95 northbound in Newark shortly after 6 p.m., according to officials.

    It would take nearly 13 hours to clean-up the mess.

    An initial investigation revealed that the driver, Adolfo Guerra of Miami, Fla., was attempting to maneuver the ramp when the wooden crates shifted causing the flatbed to overturn and strike the guardrail, according to Delaware State Police.

    Officials say the bees escaped from their boxes and began to swarm the ramp.

    Guerra and two passengers in their 20s suffered minor injuries in the crash. Officials also say they were treated at Christian Hospital for about 50 to 100 stings each.

    The ramp remained closed throughout the night and into the morning as crews worked to soak up spilled fuel and motorists were advised to avoid the area.

    Three bee handlers were called to the scene shortly after the accident.

    State police spokesman Sgt. Paul Shavack says on-call bee handlers worked with firefighters to spray water to disperse and calm the bees. It was the first time state police used their official honeybee swarm removal plan.

    "They've been traumatized so they're pretty well upset now," said Paul Dill, one of the beekeepers.

    According to Dill, the driver was transporting the bees to Maine to pollinate blueberries. Experts say about 90 percent of the bees were lost during the accident.

    The ramp remained closed as crews cleared the bees from the area. The ramp finally reopened shortly before 7 a.m. Wednesday.

    State police cited Guerra for unsafe shifting of a load in relation to the crash.