Canada Truck Crash Turns Honeybee Cargo into Sting Operation

June 30, 2008 05:32 PM
by Anne Szustek
A truck jackknifed on the Trans-Canada Highway Monday morning, releasing 12 million honeybees in the northwest corner of New Brunswick.

30-Second Summary

A flatbed trailer was transporting 330 crates of bees to Ontario back from northeastern New Brunswick, where they had been used to pollinate commercial blueberries. The cargo was jostled as the truck was heading up a highway ramp near St. Leonard, New Brunswick around 6 a.m. Atlantic Daylight Time.

The subsequent shift in weight tipped the truck, and the crates crashed to the pavement, releasing many of the bees. Cleanup efforts seemed to inspire the bees still in crates to escape.

Local beekeeper Edmond Bellefleur said, “Once they started to open the netting and [were] unpacking the hives one by one and putting them on pallets, then they really started to fly, and they got nasty.”

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Derek Strong said that the rainy weather near the site of the accident helped contain the spilled bees at first. But as the weather cleared the bees became more mobile and “began to swarm and sting the workers more,” forcing the workers to use smokers and fire hoses. Strong advised anyone who is allergic to bee stings to stay away from the area.

Westbound lanes of the Trans-Canadian Highway were closed during the clean-up efforts. The driver was unharmed during the accident.

Bee spills can mean steep financial losses for agricultural operations. A rig that flipped in Sacramento, Calif. in March released 8 million bees over a state highway. The insects were worth between $75,000 and $80,000.

‘Millions of bees from overturned truck “get nasty” as they’re moved’

Background: Previous bee spill

Related Topics: Other interesting truck spills


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines