KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A semi overturned on the Interstate 435 Southbound ramp to Interstate 35 Friday morning loaded with 14 million bees. The driver wasn't hurt, but the wreck caused quite a buzz.
“It had approximately 280 hives each hive had approximately 40,000 to 60,000 bees in it," Brian Baber, a Midwest Bee Removal beekeeper said.
We’re told the bees were in route from Northa Dakota to Florida, when the semi hauling them went careening off the interstate.
As drivers slowed to see what was causing the backup, beekeepers motioned for them to roll up their windows.
“It’s pretty intense down there, even with my suit on I’ve been stung about 20 times so they are not real happy,” Baber said.
As it turns out, it’s not the first time, a truck full of bees has overturned at the interchange. Claycomo neighbors in the area of Wittier Road and the Northgate Mobile Estates had to deal with efforts to capture millions of bees in 2003 when another truck overturned at the interchange.
“It’s happened before and it freaked us out then. I don’t know I haven’t seen any bees, no swarm of bees coming this way anyway,” Danielle Young said.
“It didn’t cause too much of a stir, there were a few swarms of bees, floating around the neighborhood occasionally,” Ben Watkins said of the 2003 incident.
As beekeepers worked to load a new truck with the bees, and use a tarp to get as many of them as possible back on their way, Watkins had his own plan for dealing with bees in the coming days.
“I just think I’ll try to run faster,” said Watkins, who purchased his home before the highway interchange was even built in the 1970s.
Baber estimated they'd haul away the vast majority of the bees before midnight, about 12 hours after the crash. Work to remove them continued past dark with the help of lights.
“The general public doesn’t have to be concerned about these bees, they are staying in these hives and we’ve got the situation under control," he said.