More than 500,000 bees died after being left in a hot UPS truck for weeks, a local CBS affiliate station reports.
UPS told the outlet that the shipment was stalled in Shrewsbury, Mass., just 50 miles outside of Boston, because of faulty packaging.
“We have been working with the customer over the last couple of weeks, making multiple attempts with local beekeepers to safely contain and move the bees,” UPS told CBS Boston.
UPS called in a beekeeper on Wednesday after several of the bees, which were set to be shipped to beekeepers in New England, had escaped.
By the time the beekeeper arrived, over half of the bees had died, though some of the surviving bees were able to be located and released.
“Almost all of them could have been saved if they called someone right away,” Anita Deeley, a former Massachusetts Department of Agriculture inspector and a beekeeper, told the news outlet. “It’s really, really sad.”
Deeley explained that the shipping containers only provided the bees with enough food for a few days. She also emphasized the importance of pollinators in the food ecosystem.
“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.”