Details into what caused massive bee swarm in North Las Vegas

Jacqui Heinrich

Photo: Video by ktnv.com

Details into what caused massive bee swarm in North Las Vegas

CREATED Nov. 7, 2013

North Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A swarm of bees caused quite the buzz in North Las Vegas Thursday afternoon after a man driving an 18-wheeler decided to pull off the highway and take a nap.

On the flatbed: 450 beehives headed to a California farm to pollinate a crop, each containing up to 15,000 bees. Sitting in the sun under a loose tarp, the bees got agitated and decided to fly off.

"Oh my goodness, the whole truck, I mean it was swarming," Nancy Schmitt said of the truck parked across the street from her house. Schmitt called 911, worried about kids who were about to be released from a nearby school. She says the dispatcher initially didn't believe it. "She said maybe someone in the neighborhood was using the bees to make honey. I said I don't think so."

Not wanting to wing it, police and fire bosses called in their bee-team, including a pest control specialist. Cedric Williams of the North Las Vegas Fire Department told Action News, "I actually asked the pest controller, my window was down and I said 'Are we gonna be okay? They're not gonna bite?' He said absolutely they'll bite, now roll up your window."

Next, neighborhood lockdown. Schools kept kids until parents could pick them up, and streets were blocked off for hours as firefighters sprayed the area. They even had to bust down a door to get into a house that one queen bee took a liking to.

"You have to assume they're Africanized at this point, because most of them are," said Jimmy Stephensen of JS Pest Control, the company first responders called for assistance. Stephens estimated as many as a couple hundred thousand bees were loose in the area.

The whole thing was over in a few hours, but for the bees it was a real buzz-kill.

North Las Vegas Police sent the driver and his bees on their way, not wanting more to escape the truck. They say he may face charges in the future for parking a commercial vehicle on a residential street and causing the sticky situation. Luckily, nobody was injured.

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