An off-duty firefighter in Las Cruces, N.M., whose hobby is beekeeping, safely removed 15,000 bees from the man’s car in an Albertson’s supermarket parking lot.
A New Mexico man returned to his car after grocery shopping and discovered 15,000 honey bees in his back seat.
The man had left a window down while he made a 10-minute stop at an Albertsons supermarket on Sunday afternoon in Las Cruces, N.M., the authorities said.
It wasn’t until he had started to drive away that he noticed that something was amiss, according to the Las Cruces Fire Department.
Jesse Johnson, an off-duty firefighter and paramedic whose hobby is beekeeping, said of the man’s reaction in an interview on Wednesday. “He called 911 because he didn’t know what to do.”
The man called the police which resulted in the fire department placing a call to Jesse Johnson. The off-duty firefighter had just finished a family barbecue when he heard that his beekeeping skills were needed.
“I’ll do anything to keep people from killing the bees,” he said.
It’s common in the spring for colonies of bees to split, with a swarm following a queen to another location, according to Mr. Johnson.
“Johnson arrived with the proper tools for the trade – a hive kit, lemongrass oil, gloves and proper attire – and was successful in removing the bees from the car and relocating them to a more suitable location.”
He suggested that the bees, which collectively weighed about 3½ pounds, might have come from a parapet, gutter system, or home in a nearby neighborhood. Mr. Johnson said the car’s open window presented an inviting place for the bees to take shelter until they could find a more permanent home.
“Luckily, when bees are swarming, they’re pretty docile,” he said. “They don’t have a home to protect for a moment. It’s much more intimidating than it is dangerous.”
Image credits: Las Cruces Fire Department