Man finds swarm of about 15K bees in his car after leaving grocery store

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A Las Cruces firefighter and beekeeper is credited with safely removing a swarm of bees found inside a parked car on March 28, 2021 (Image courtesy Las Cruces Fire Department)

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (NEXSTAR/KRQE) — A supermarket shopper who was about to drive away after putting groceries in his car came face to face with a swarm of bees in the back seat earlier this week.

The man’s car had been parked with a window down Sunday at an Albertson’s grocery store in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Firefighters were called and secured the area, then crews called on Jesse Johnson, an off-duty firefighter who is also a beekeeper, said the city of Las Cruce spokesman Dan Trujillo.

Johnson, wearing the proper beekeeping attire, removed the bees within about two hours.

The bees were transported to Johnson’s own property, which is outside city limits. Trujillo said the swarm had an estimated 15,000 bees.

Fire officials said a store security guard was stung, but no other injuries were reported.

Trujillo said the Las Cruces Fire Department does not normally remove bee swarms, but they thought calling Johnson was the quickest course of action given the amount of traffic in the area.

“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,” the Las Cruces Fire Department said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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