A truck carrying millions of honeybees overturned on a highway north of Seattle early today, scattering hives and sending beekeepers scrambling to save as many insects as they could. The truck had just merged onto Interstate 5 around 3:30am when it tipped on its side, dumping its load of 448 hives, or about 13.7 million bees. The driver, a 36-year-old man from Idaho, was not hurt. The company that owns the insects, Belleville Honey and Beekeeping Supply of Burlington, sent beekeepers to recover as many as possible, and bees covered their protective suits as they worked.
The bees became more active as the sun rose and the weather warmed, and firefighters had to spray a layer of foam on some of the boxes, killing the insects for safety. Many of the hives were still along the highway more than seven hours after the accident, when a front-end loader began scooping them up and dumping them into a dump truck. "I'm sure they'll take that somewhere and try to save as many as they can, but they can do that someplace safer, away from the I-5 corridor," says a Washington State Patrol trooper.