Driving along I-15 in Utah yesterday I came across a crashed truck and 25 million escaped bees. The bees were being driven from South Dakota to California to pollinate almond trees.
Since 1940 the number of managed bee colonies in the US has halved from 5 million to 2.5 million, a fall that is mainly due to colony collapse disorder disease. This drop in numbers had led to the commercial movement of bees – every year 80 billion bees are trucked across the US from east to west and back again to pollinate fruit trees. Ironically some experts believe that transporting the hives from farm to farm is contributing to the rise in disease… to say nothing of the death toll each time a truck carrying hives crashes…
Recent bee escapes due to auto accidents:
July 2011: 14 million bees on Highway 20 in Idaho (en route from California to North Dakota)
May 2010: 17 million bees on I-35 near Lakeville Minnesota (en route to North Dakota after wintering in Mississippi)
March 2010: 8 million bees on Hwy 99 in Sacramento, California
March 2008: 12 million bees on Hwy 99 near Sacramento (en route to Yakima, Washington)
September 2007: 13 million bees in Bear Trap Canyon west of Bozeman, Montana (en route from Idaho to North Dakota)