HOWE, Idaho, June 26 (UPI) -- It's been a rough couple decades for honeybees -- pesticides, parasites, habitat loss, and now truck accidents and firefighters armed with deadly foam.
A truck carrying hundreds of beehives, each hosting some 50,000 bees, crashed on Thursday in Idaho. In a mad dash for freedom, the bees momentarily escaped the crumpled truck.
But firefighters responding to the accident were forced to douse the bees in foam, sending some 20 million of the insects to their eventual death.
Officers from the Butte County Sheriff's Office, as well as local firefighters and emergency responders, responded to the accident, which took place on State Highway 33 near Howe, Idaho.
"They went off the east side of the northbound lane," Sheriff Wes Collins told East Idaho News. "The truck and trailer tipped over on its passenger side and then righted itself and continued for approximately 75 yards before it came to rest out in the sagebrush."
The colony hives were destroyed when the truck tipped over. Once their homes were destroyed, the bees' long-term survival was a lost cause.
"If they weren't killed they'd continue to be a hazard, especially for motorcyclists," Collins added.
Several motorists reported being stung by the escaped bees.
Responders from the nearby Idaho National Laboratory had no choice but to douse the bees with foam.
"There is really no saving them when it is this bad," said Brian Wiggins, the owner of the bees and controlling company KatieBee Honey. "All the bees that escaped will be dead by tomorrow, because they can't live without their colonies."
Prior to the accident, the bees were on route to North Dakota where they were to go about producing honey. Obviously, those plans are no more. The company estimated the lost bees at a hit of $200,000.