Firefighters can sometimes be called upon to rescue cats stranded in trees but one off-duty ladderman went above and beyond the call when he removed a massive swarm of bees which had hijacked a man’s car.
The incident took place at the Albertsons supermarket on Sunday, March 28 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. One hapless shopper had ducked inside to pick up some groceries and, 10 minutes later, he found quite a few more new occupants of the car he had borrowed from a friend than he anticipated, as photos from the scene show.
He immediately raised the alarm with his local fire department, having already packed the groceries inside the vehicle before noticing the roughly 15,000-strong swarm of honey bees.
Thankfully, the Las Cruces Fire Department knew just who to call: 37-year-old Jesse Johnson, an off-duty firefighter and paramedic whose hobby just so happens to be beekeeping.
“I’ll do anything to keep people from killing the bees,” Johnson said, after removing the swarm which reportedly weighed about 3.5 pounds (1.5kg).
Honey bee colonies can often split in spring, with swarms following a new queen to find a new home. During this time, the bees don’t have a home to defend and are less hostile than usual.
“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.”
Johnson, who has four hives at his home, donned his beekeeper’s jacket and veil, and transferred the swarm to a new hive box he had treated with lemongrass oil to mimic the scent of a queen.
One supermarket security guard and at least one firefighter were stung in the incident. They are expected to make a complete recovery.
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