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He Got in His Car After Grocery Shopping. Then, 'Holy Cow'

Man had 15,000 bees waiting for him in his vehicle in an Albertsons parking lot in Las Cruces, NM
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2021 9:21 AM CDT

(Newser) – Ever get behind the wheel and feel the creepy sensation that someone or something unwelcome is in the car with you? That's what happened to a man in Las Cruces, NM, over the weekend after a short trip to the grocery store, but to his horror, there wasn't just one intruder in his vehicle—there were 15,000 of them. Fifteen thousand honeybees, that is, which had slipped in through a window the unnamed man had left cracked open in his Buick as he shopped at Albertsons on Sunday. The man spent just 10 minutes inside the store that afternoon, according to the Las Cruces Fire Department, and it was only when he climbed back into his car and started to pull out of the parking lot "that he noticed something was amiss," per the New York Times. "Then he turned back and looked and [was like], 'Holy cow,'" says Jesse Johnson, a local firefighter, paramedic, and amateur beekeeper who got the call to help.

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The fire department has posted pictures from the scene showing Johnson in his bee-gathering get-up, carrying the hive box he lured most of the bees into. Johnson tells the Times he thinks the bees may have come from a gutter or parapet in the area. The Washington Post notes that this time of year is "swarm season," which is when queen bees defect from hives that have too many bees in them, taking about half the worker bees with her. A University of Florida entomology expert tells the paper that the in-transit bees will hang out in a temporary spot, like a tree branch (or yes, a car) while some of the bees seek a more permanent home. The fire department notes it took about two hours to clear out the bees from the car. Although the man was likely freaked out—and worried, as it was a friend's car he'd borrowed—"at least they weren't murder hornets," notes CBS News. (Read more bees stories.)

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