A bee in your bonnet sounds bad enough. But what about 15,000 bees in your car?

That's exactly what happened to an unsuspecting New Mexican man on Sunday afternoon.

Depending on your feelings about bees, it's the kind of unexpected situation that would either feel like a dream come true—or a nightmare.

A Grocery Store Trip Gone Awry

honey bees

According to The New York Times, the man (name not released) was stopping at Albertsons in Las Cruces, and was only inside the grocery store for 10 minutes. When we emerged, he was in for quite a surprise. A swarm of 15,000 honey bees had invaded his car and filled the back seat. No surprise, he was at a bit of a loss, and called 911.

Luckily, the Fire Department knew just the person to call. Jesse Johnson is a Las Cruces firefighter, paramedic, and beekeeper in his free time. Mr. Johnson was off-duty on Sunday, so his colleagues called him up, and he drove to Albertsons to come to the rescue.

Mr. Johnson brought along his beekeeper's jacket and veil. He used an empty hive box scented with lemongrass oil to lure the bees out of the back seat and into the hive. After about half an hour, all of the bees had moved over to the hive, and Mr. Johnson drove them home in his truck.

A security guard and a firefighter were both stung, but no other stings or injuries were reported. Quite a success on the part of Mr. Johnson (one could even go so far as to say he's the bee's knees!).

Looking Out for the Bees

man holding honey comb with bees

While coaxing 15,000 bees out of your car might not sound like the most ideal way to spend a Sunday afternoon, it's important to remember how vital they are as animals.

In many regions of the world, bee populations have been rapidly declining. Because of their role as pollinators, bees are ecologically central to many ecosystems.

When humans and bees come in contact, as they did on Sunday, we should always do what we can to ensure the bees are handled with care and given a home. Though preferably not in someone's back seat.

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