The Missouri Department of Transportation reported shortly after noon Friday that a semi-truck carrying millions of honey bees had overturned on the right shoulder of southbound Interstate 435 near the Interstate 35 intersection in the Northland.
An emergency response team from the department, as well as Kansas City police, responded to the scene and called local bee companies to help control and gather the insects. Authorities said at least some of the bees had flown away from the semi.
MoDOT originally reported that the truck had been carrying 40,000 bees. A local bee expert called to the scene to help, as well as the owner of the bees, said the number was in the millions.
Hives typically contain 40,000 bees, said Matt Winstead of Midwest Bee Removal.
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Owner Brian Buoye said that 408 hives were being transported. Both men estimated the number of transported bees to be between 8 million and 11 million.
MoDOT officials said they had been initially informed that the truck contained 40,000 bees and could not immediately clarify the number of bees being transported. The truck was reportedly traveling from North Dakota to Tampa, Fla.
The semi-truck was off the road and not directly affecting traffic, police said, though several tow trucks on the highway’s right shoulder were utilized to clear the scene.
“#Beesafe,” MoDOT tweeted, suggesting that drivers use caution in the area.