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MILLCREEK — Roughly 24 million honey bees spilled out of a tipped semi-truck on Interstate 80, earlier this week. The crash sent two people to the hospital.
Clean-up crews estimated the bees were a total loss.
Members of the Wasatch Beekeepers Association disagreed — they ended up rescuing many of the bees who survived the crash.
"DOT (department of transportation) came, they sprayed them down with a foam — it's like a soap, and that drowned the bees," beekeeper Veldon Sorensen said. "The truck was traveling from California. When the truck tipped over, all the bees kind of gathered together and they clustered ... on that sagebrush."
Sorensen and other local beekeepers set up frames to gather the bees, who were happy for a new home.
"We wanted to preserve as many bee lives as we could," Sorensen said. "They are so beneficial. Many people don't even realize how intelligent they are and the goodness that comes from these insects. You know, you wouldn't have almonds if you didn't have bees?"
The rescued bees are now in quarantine at Sorensen's training hives in Millcreek.
"Some of them are aggressive because they were separated from their hive and their queen," Sorensen said. "But we are providing new queens."
Sorensen said queen bees cost between $25 and $45.
These honey bees will be used to mentor an upcoming generation of beekeepers.
"It's a multi-billion-dollar business all hinged on the back of a little insect," Sorensen said.
The Wasatch Beekeepers Association members meet once a month. Experts come to discuss beekeeping and mentor those who are just getting started.
Click here to get more information on the beekeeping mentoring program.