14 Million Blueberry Pollination Bees Lost in a Semi-Truck Overturn
SEATTLE, WA - A semi-truck carrying 14 million honey bees bound for a blueberry farm in Lynden, Washington flipped over at about 3:30 Friday morning.
According to the Seattle Times, the accident resulted in a total loss of $92,000. Seth Thompson of Belleville Farms told Seattle Times that it’s “a huge blow” for the family business. Eight employees from the farm suited up, he said, to help responders, with beekeepers on the scene as early as 4:30 in the morning.
Firefighters and state troopers were also there with hoses to contain the situation.
“Everybody’s been stung,” Sgt. Ben Lewis of the State Patrol said, according to the report. “This is a first.”
Of the 448 hives endangered when the truck overturned, only about 128 could be saved before the sun came up and the weather halted the process, according to the report. Unfortunately many of the bees had to be taken down with water or foam, being very difficult to sort back into the correct hives once released, according to Mark Emrich, President of the Washington State Beekeepers Association.
“They’re little flying solar panels,” Emrich told the Seattle Times. "As soon as light hits them, they want to be active.”
The driver of the overturned truck was uninjured, according to Sgt. Lewis. While no criminal charges were filed at the wreck, he could face traffic citations and investigators are currently looking into if speed was a factor in the collision.
As for the public, it was reported that the bees are not any kind of menace and normally won’t even sting unless threatened. Responders did, however, caution drivers passing through to keep the windows and vents closed to prevent any unwanted passengers.