A tractor-trailer carrying millions of honey bees jackknifed on a freeway entrance near the Ironman Coeur d’Alene triathlon course this afternoon, spilling its load and blocking all but one lane of traffic.
The eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 were backed up for miles after the second trailer of the truck tipped over around 2 p.m. on the Sherman Avenue on ramp, just a few hundred yards from the marathon course on South 23rd Street.
Idaho State Police advised people to keep clear of the area while firefighters sprayed cool water on the swarms of bees, which became agitated in the 105-degree heat. A tow truck crew donned beekeeping suits to work on removing the truck and trailer.
Several trucks and an ambulance from the Coeur d’Alene Fire Department responded to the crash. Firefighters and state troopers talked about being stung multiple times. One beekeeper who declined to give his name said the truck was carrying about 300 hives.
A similar truck wreck just two days ago released more than 20 million bees on State Highway 33 in the eastern Idaho desert. Those bees were being shipped to North Dakota to pollinate crops and make honey.
And in mid-April, another semi truck carrying millions of honeybees overturned on Interstate 5 north of Seattle, scattering hives and sending white-suited beekeepers scrambling to save as many of the insects as they could.