More than half a million bees found dead after being left in UPS truck for weeks

More than half a million bees died in Massachusetts after they were left on a hot UPS truck for weeks, according to CBS Boston.

A million bees were meant to be shipped to beekeepers in New England, but were held up in the town of Shrewsbury, nearly 50 miles west of Boston, due to faulty packaging, according to UPS. A beekeeper had been called in by UPS on Wednesday because they had been getting loose, but more than half of the bees had already died. Whatever bees survived were located and released by the beekeeper UPS brought in.

Anita Deeley, a former Massachusetts Department of Agriculture inspector and a beekeeper, told the station the situation was, “really, really sad,” and the bees could have been saved if someone was called immediately.

“The best thing that could have happened would have been if a bee rescuer was called right away to come in and deal with it,” Deeley said. “Then, not only the escaped bees could have been rescued, but also the bees in the packages.”

She added that bees only have enough food in shipped boxes to last a few days, and stressed the importance of the pollinators.

“Honeybees are dying in society,” Deeley said. “They’re really, really important pollinators. They pollinate about one third of food that we eat. Without bees, we wouldn’t have most of the fruits and vegetables that you see on your table They are very important for our eco-system.”

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The bees were shipped by Mann Lake Ltd. in Pennsylvania. The company told the station they care about the bees and will look into how the situation happened.

“It’s also really disappointing for new beekeepers who ordered bees in the mail and were not to be able to get them,” Deeley added.

The bee population has declined in recent years. A 2019 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service found the population dropped to 2.88 million honey bee colonies, 12% down from the record high 3.28 million colonies in 2012.

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jord_mendoza.

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