Crime - Sacto 911

Why a million bees had to be killed after semi-truck crash in Auburn

This is not the kind of sting operation police normally handle.

A big rig carrying hundreds of beehives went off the side of the road about 6:30 p.m. Thursday near Andrews and Nevada streets in Auburn, leading to the pollinators’ euthanization.

The truck’s driver attempted to take an offramp to avoid colliding with slowing traffic on westbound Interstate 80, said Sgt. Tucker Huey of the Auburn Police Department. He traveled too fast coming off the exit and hit a dirt embankment, displacing hives imported to pollinate crops.

Police consulted several beekeepers, Huey said, who determined the colonies couldn’t effectively be salvaged. The tens of thousands of bees in each hive were saturated with soapy water, killing them, while their former housemates buzzed above.

“There were bees everywhere, but they weren’t swarming because it was cool and night,” Huey said. “Had this occurred on a warm day, it would have been a much bigger deal.”

The road was reopened at 3:07 a.m. Friday. The driver was unhurt in the crash.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel