Highway Bee Swarm Forces State Police To Invoke 'Bee Removal Plan'

Image: Highway Bee Swarm Forces State Police To Invoke 'Bee Removal Plan' Members of the Wilmington Fire Company use foam to spray on the millions of bees loaded in several large bins taken from the accident scene along I-95 near Newark, Delaware Wednesday, May 21, 2014.

Thursday, 22 May 2014 10:27 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Traffic was back to buzzing along Interstate 95 on Thursday after a truck with 460 honeybee hives overturned on a ramp two nights before, forcing firefighters to use water hoses to douse the swarming insects until state police could invoke their special "bee removal plan."

The Delaware 896 ramp to I-95 reopened after authorities were able to safely remove the flatbed tractor-trailer , which was hauling an estimated 16 to 20 million bees in their hives, reported the Wilmington News Journal. The driver of the rig, Adolpho Guerra, 55, of Miami, Florida, was stung 50 to 100 bee stings.

Guerra was treated for the stings and minor injuries from the accident at nearby Christina Hospital and was issued a ticket for transporting an unsafe load.. Authorities told the News Journal that the Guerra failed to negotiate a turn on the ramp, tipping over the tractor-trailer.

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Two other passengers in the rig, men ages 25 and 24, were also treated at Christiana Hospital after suffering 50 to 100 bee stings.

"We can't even get close to the truck right now," said Delaware State Police Sgt. Paul Shavack as firefighters used water hoses to temporarily contain the swarms when the accident first happened Tuesday evening. "We contacted beekeepers to assist. (We began) hosing down the bees."

Shavack said the state police had a bee removal plan, which helped them eventually regain control of the crash site.

"The (emergency) communication center in New Castle County contacted headquarters communication center, and headquarters communication followed the plan that was in place before this occurred," Shavack told the News Journal.

"We got ahold of one of those bee providers, and he came right out. He called for additional resources, so that's why there are three on-scene," Shavack continued.

"It hurts, it always really, really hurts – even one sting," Debbie Delaney, an apiculture professor at Delaware University, told WPVI-TV. She was one of numerous bee experts who arrived at the scene to assist in the accident.

"In terms of other people getting stung, they are really going to be just in that vicinity," Delaney said to WPVI-TV. "They are going to stay close to their colony or as close as they can."

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