Sting operation: Workers busy as bees cleaning up truck wreck

| Wednesday, June 25, 2003

It’s bad enough having to clean up a spilled load after a semi overturns. It’s even harder when the load flies away before you can finish.

But that’s what workers faced in Kansas City, MO, were up against Monday as they fought to cleanup a spilled trailerload of hives and honey bees, local media sources reported.

The bees, owned by an Iowa farmer, were headed north to Wisconsin to do some pollinating work when the tractor-trailer carrying them hit a slick spot in the road near the intersection of I-435 and I-35 north of the Missouri River. More than 500 hives burst open, releasing a good part of the 25 million bees within.

The bees, it was reported, were not happy.

Driver Steve Beavers of Bartlesville, Okla., kicked his way out of the cab through a window. But emergency workers who showed up to help were the ones facing injury. The bees, angered by having their homes broken up, stung anyone who was unwise enough to get close.

Beekeepers from a nearby honey operation over the state line in Kansas showed up to help. Some drivers also stopped by to offer help, but quickly left the scene after discovering the situation.

Beavers told The Kansas City Star that one couple who offered aid shortly after the wreck made a particularly quick get-away.

"She asked, `What are these insects?' " Beavers said. "I told her `bees,' and she said, `I have to go.' "

Many residents of nearby homes left until the situation was under control.