updated 9/19/2007 2:06:55 PM ET 2007-09-19T18:06:55

Thousands of bees got loose when the truck carrying their hives ran off a highway and overturned near a Montana community, the Highway Patrol said.

State trooper Dell Aman said he was stung twice but didn’t know of anyone else who was.

“The public was in no way in danger, as long as they didn’t stop to get out of their vehicles,” he said. “If they did get out, they figured out pretty quickly that that wasn’t the place to be — no pun intended.”

The truck, headed from North Dakota to California, veered into a ditch Tuesday along Interstate 94 near the exit for Huntley, a community just northeast of Billings, the Highway Patrol said.

The truck was hauling 465 beehives — nearly 13.7 million bees, Aman said.

Most of the bees stayed in their hives but a “couple thousand” got loose, he said.

The driver, Robert Esper, 66, of Winnemucca, Nev., was uninjured. Aman said Esper wasn’t speeding but was cited for alleged careless driving.

Aman said the escaped bees returned to their hives as the weather cooled in the evening. “The temperature dropped about 10 degrees while I was there, and they started going home,” he said.

On Wednesday, the hives and their trailer were at a storage yard awaiting further arrangements, said Scott Hanser of Hanser’s automotive and towing business in Billings.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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