A Florida apiarist was bee-reft of over a million bees after a truck slammed into him while hauling his hives.
More than a million bees swarmed a Florida highway Tuesday when a tractor trailer collided with another truck hauling more than five million of the insects on their way to produce honey. The beekeeper is still counting his losses, both financially and numerically, as many of them flew away from the scene of the crash. Fortunately, despite a million potential hazards in the air, no injuries were reported.
“There are thousands of bees in the area after the collision,” a Florida Highway Patrol trooper wrote in an accident report, via ClickOrlando. “The public is advised to use caution in the area as the bees continue to disseminate.”
The accident happened at around 3:15 a.m. on U.S. Highway 301 near the I-10 ramp in Baldwin. A tractor-trailer crashed into the truck, which was carrying the pickup truck hauling dozens of beehives.
“We both had a green light, but the semi-truck made a U-turn there without a turn signal, and I didn’t see it coming so I just hit right at the front end of the truck,” said Trent Padgett, the owner of Jesup Bee Company in Jesup, Georgia, told News 4 Jacksonville. Padgett was transporting his bees to a honey maker in the town of Lawtey.
The tractor-trailer was hauled away around 7 a.m. Tuesday morning. The beehive company later loaded the undamaged hives onto another truck. The remaining hives were still on the damaged trailer, swarming with bees, Tuesday morning. According to Action News Jacksonville, Padgett also left a hive on the side of the road in an effort to attract the bees that flew away. Padgett said that between 25 and 30 hives were completely destroyed.
“A lot of bees got lost. A lot of them flew away,” he said. “There’s a lot of dead bees on the highway that came from those boxes.”
Padgett estimated that he lost about $40,000 worth of bees in total, and the full cost of the damages is expected to reach up to $80,000. While the bees are not insured, he hoped that the tractor-trailer driver’s insurance would help cover some of the losses. “He was at fault,” Padgett claimed. “Hopefully, they’ll cover the damages. We’ll just have to negotiate.”
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The unfornate fate that befell the Florida beekeeper comes months after another accident in Wisconsin gave drivers an ear-full. The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office blocked southbound traffic on I-41 near Milwaukee after a tractor trailer overturned, spilling 20 tons of corn onto the highway. Crews had to block the highway even further in an effort to salvage the truck.
Before that, another truck carrying 20 tons of meatballs overturned onto a highway in rural southern Virginia. Traffic was shut down for about four hours after the big rig jackknifed, spilling more than 40,000 pounds of frozen meatballs onto I-95 South. Police charged the driver of the rig with a traffic violation.
In August of last year, two tractor-trailers overturned on opposite ends of the country, spilling other staples of Italian cuisine onto highways in California and Texas. First, a tractor-trailer carrying more than 300,000 tomatoes collided with another vehicle and plowed into a center divider, spilling the fruit onto the opposing lanes of traffic, which caused a chain reaction of crashes.
Then, another big rig overturned on a highway in Tennessee outside Memphis, spilling gallons of Alfredo sauce and creating a huge mess for drivers and work crews.