HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A Bethel man has been cited for multiple traffic violations after his trailer hauling bees tipped over on I-81, Friday. Officials say Lamar Wenger, 44, was relocating his bees to a location in Rome, Pennsylvania.
“As he was travelling there, he failed to negotiate a slight curve in the roadway, which, the trailer not being the load or the weight not being evenly distributed, caused the trailer to get a little bit out of control,” Trooper David Peters, a Trooper First Class Public Information Officer, said.
The accident allowed the bees to escape. Officials had to stop traffic on both lanes on the highway as they tried to gather the bees and their hives.
The stretch of the highway was closed for six hours. Authorities called beekeeper Michael Palmero to the scene to help collect the bees and return them to their boxes.
“I spoke to Lamar this morning. He said there were abot 500,000 bees and we actually saved about 90 percent of them. So, I thought it was a pretty good day,” Palmero said.
No major injuries occurred during the incident, but those involved in the clean-up effort were stung many times.
“There were people that were supposedly allergic. There was two people, two of the firefighters, but they both got stung. But, they were both fine,” Captain Karl Zemany of the Valley Regional Fire and Rescue said.
“The bees were pretty calm, some hives were pretty nasty. But, the biggest thing was being protected from the stings. The bees are pretty hardy and you can actually shake them in their little boxes and they really don’t mind that. The one problem that we had was, I know, I got stung more than 25 times,” Palmero said.
When asked how strange the incident was compared to other calls they’ve gotten: “It as definitely one for the books. I don’t know. There were no injuries so I can’t say it was severe, but it was definitely different. Out of 1 to 10, I’d probably say a 10,” Zemany said.
“I show up in a bee suit. They’re unprotected so the first responders, kudos to them to walk into a situation like that,” Palmero said.
He says the bees who managed to escape into the surrounding environment will most likely not survive the next three days.