Fourteen million bees got loose after a semi-truck rolled in Island Park on U.S. Highway 20 Sunday night.
Now people are concerned about bees still in the area and bears coming for the honey.
“Yeah, just a black cloud of bees. You didn’t dare open your window. You didn’t dare get out. You didn’t dare do anything,” said Island Park Fire Chief Kenny Strandberg.
Strandberg got the call and couldn’t believe what he saw.
“When I pulled up to the scene, I pulled up along the truck driver to make sure he was OK in there. He was suiting up. I didn’t get out either. We just waiting a few minutes until he got out. He grabbed the hose,” said Strandberg.
The fragile bee hives broke open.
Fire crews sprayed the bees with water to cool them down. A bee expert said fire foam would kill the bees, so crews used it. But they think they missed at least a few thousand, and now Strandberg said he is concerned.
“I am worried about the bears coming down now — the grizzly bears — because there are so many bees there that we didn’t kill, that they will be down,” said Strandberg.
As for the workers, it is repeated stings.
“We train for fires and extrication, but we have never trained for bees. But now we have learned a lot about bees. So next time it happens, if it happens again — hopefully not — we will know what to do,” said Strandberg.
The bees are worth 3 cents a piece, making them worth more than $400,000.
It is not unusual for semi-trucks with bees to travel U.S. Highway 20. Strandberg said about three or four trucks come through every week.
This load was headed to Minot, North Dakota from California.