An off-duty Las Cruces firefighter used his experience as a beekeeper to safely relocate a swarm that invaded a parked car Sunday afternoon.
Shortly after 4 p.m. Sunday, March 28, Las Cruces firefighters were dispatched to the report of swarm of bees that took temporary residency in a car that had been parked with a window down at the Albertson’s grocery store, 1285 El Paseo Rd. Firefighters arrived to find a swarm of bees inside the vehicle.
Firefighters learned the owner of the car returned from shopping, placed groceries in his vehicle and started to drive off before noticing the swarm in the backseat.
After blocking off the immediate area to ensure the safety of nearby shoppers, Las Cruces firefighters called upon the services of off-duty firefighter Jesse Johnson who, in his spare time, is a beekeeper. Johnson arrived with the proper tools for the trade – a hive kit, lemongrass oil, gloves and proper attire – and was successful in removing the bees from the car and relocating them to a more suitable location.
Estimated 15,000 bees were removed and relocated to Johnson’s property that’s outside of city limits.
The fire crew was on scene for nearly two hours while the bees were removed and rehomed. A security guard at Albertson’s was stung and it is possible a few patrons may have had close encounters, but no major injuries were reported.
The Las Cruces Fire Department does not regularly remove bee swarms. However, to mitigate the mid-afternoon hazard the large swarm presented in a relatively high-traffic area, firefighters determined the best remedy was to have the swarm removed and relocated swiftly.