No one knows why the swarm of bees took over the unsuspecting shopper's car, but thanks to Jesse Johnson, around 15,000 bees were "removed and relocated."
A man who went grocery shopping with his windows rolled down came back to a rather stingy surprise— his car had been taken over by a swarm of nearly 15,000 bees. According to NBC Boston, the incident took place in a grocery store parking lot in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on Sunday, Mach 28 around 4 p.m.
The owner of the car came back after his shopping trip, placed the groceries in his car, and was about to head home when they noticed the bees in the car. A Facebook post reports that "Las Cruces firefighters were dispatched to the report of the swarm of bees that took temporary residency in a car that had been parked with a window down at the Albertson’s grocery store, 1285 El Paseo Rd. Firefighters arrived to find a swarm of bees inside the vehicle."
The authorities immediately sealed the area to ensure the safety of other shoppers, and they soon called upon the services of off-duty firefighter Jesse Johnson who also doubled up as a beekeeper in his spare time.
"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."
The fire crew spent about two hours removing and rehoming the bees. "Estimated 15,000 bees were removed and relocated to Johnson’s property that’s outside of city limits." Reports suggest that one security guard at Albertson’s was stung and a few other patrons may have had a few close calls, but as for casualties, that's was it.
"The Las Cruces Fire Department does not regularly remove bee swarms. However, to mitigate the mid-afternoon hazard the large swarm presented in a relatively high-traffic area, firefighters determined the best remedy was to have the swarm removed and relocated swiftly."
Though the bees have been moved, it is unclear why they occupied that particular car. Also, while it does seem like a once-in-a-lifetime event, there were once reports of a swarm of bees chasing a car for two days to rescue their queen bee that was accidentally trapped in the car.
According to CNN, the queen bee was trapped inside a Mitsubishi Outlander belonging to Carol Howarth, a 68-year-old grandmother. She had no idea that she's picked up the winged royal when she visited a nature reserve. Later, when she'd parked her car outside a store, a swarm of bees had taken over. Soon enough, rescue operations were underway and the bees were relocated; only to be back in search of their queen.
Eventually, poor Howarth's car was bee-free the next day, but no word on what happened to the queen.
Cover Image Source: Las Cruces Fire Department