Washington, May 22:
Some 20 million bees were released after a tractor-trailer transporting them overturned on a highway ramp near Newark, New Jersey, and traffic authorities recommended that motorists not stop and roll their windows up along the stretch of road where the insects are still swarming.
The accident occurred about 6 pm Tuesday night on the ramp from northbound Delaware Route 896 to Interstate 95 North when the truck carrying more than 450 beehives from Florida to Maine overturned.
Delaware police spokesman Paul Shavack told the daily Delawareonline that the driver, Adolpho Guerra, was stung almost 100 times by the bees after the accident and had to be treated along with two companions at a nearby hospital, although all three people are apparently out of danger, media reported Wednesday.
The state police said that officers were not able to get close to the truck Wednesday morning and that, for the moment, firefighters are trying to disperse the bees by spraying water at the site.
Shavack said it was not possible to capture the bees that escaped, but the water will disperse them and reduce their activity.
Coincidentally, the state of Delaware has a honeybee swarm removal plan to prevent eventualities just like this one, something that enabled bee experts to be informed of the incident quickly.
In the 14 years that the policy has been in effect, Shavack said, this is the first time that it has been activated to deal with such an emergency.
The highway where the accident occurred is the main road extending along the US East Coast from Florida to Maine and serves millions of travellers and commuters.