A truck hauling bee hives crashed and overturned along a northern Michigan roadway, unleashing a big swarm of bees, police said.
The truck overturned about 2 p.m. Wednesday and dumped its load of bee boxes along a Charlevoix County road, prompting police to urge residents to keep windows and doors closed.
“There was a very large swarm,” Charlevoix County Sheriff Charles Vondra said Thursday.
He said he was told that upwards of 50 million bees were in the truck’s load of bee boxes when it crashed near Boyne City, a community about 260 miles (418.4 kilometers) northwest of Detroit.
Local firefighters sprayed water on the boxes to keep the insects cool in the heat of the day until beekeepers could arrive and begin retrieving the hive-filled boxes and loading them onto trucks that hauled them away, he said.
Vondra said it’s estimated that several hundred thousand bees never made it back into the boxes. But bee boxes were placed Thursday morning at the crash site in hopes that some would fly back into those boxes for removal, he said.
No residents were stung by the bees, but Vondra said some beekeepers got stung while they were collecting and loading the boxes onto trucks that removed them from the scene.