Watch more than 1 million angry bees swarm an Oklahoma highway

30 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Truck hauling honeybees rolls over on Oklahoma interstate.

A truck hauling honeybees overturned on a busy Oklahoma interstate and a sheriff’s deputy got trapped in his cruiser when a swarm of hundreds of the insects engulfed his vehicle. “The day the bees attacked! A truck loaded with honeybees rolled over on an Oklahoma roadway Tuesday, unleashing a black cloud of more than 1 million angry insects that swarmed vehicles and endangered drivers.

Images from the scene showed the bees enveloping police vehicles and trapping at least one deputy in the back of his Highway Patrol cruiser, according to NBC affiliate KFOR. “The bees will swarm up to 10 miles away, some of them in groups,” Bud Ramming, the county’s emergency management coordinator, told Fox News affiliate KOKH. “There’s a bee shortage,” he said. “When they started talking about killing these bees here tonight, I [threw] a fit and said, ‘You don’t do that till I get there.’ As long as people go to fighting them, they go to swatting at them and they’re gonna get mad.” By nightfall, that’s exactly what happened, according to KOKH. Surprisingly, bee-related accidents aren’t uncommon on US highways, as trucks regularly transport hives of bees across the country for use by commercial farmers to pollinate their crops. Many farmers who harvest crops such as almonds, apples, sunflowers, and grapes have come to depend on renting bees from commercial beekeepers because wind and other physical processes are often ineffective at pollinating the crops.

While there were only 387 beekeeping establishments in the US in 2012, commercial beekeeping is a multi-million dollar business, the US Department of Agriculture noted in a 2014 report. Despite several reports of bee-related accidents in the past few years, honeybees are often preferred by beekeepers because they are easier to transport in a densely-packed colony than other potential pollinating creatures, such as bats, wasps, or butterflies.

Beekeepers take particular precautions in transporting the bees, loading them onto trucks at night or before sunrise when they are in their hives and relatively inactive. During Tuesday’s accident, the inherent risks became particularly apparent, as angry swarms of insects mobbed state highway patrolman Carl Zink, as he responded to a call about an overturned truck on Interstate 35 near Paul’s Valley, Okla., at about 1 p.m., NBC News reported. Without pollination by commercial honeybees the United States could effectively lose one-third of all its crops, including broccoli, blueberries, cherries, apples, melons, and lettuce.

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