Guy returns to his car after shopping to find 15,000 bees inside

Off-duty firefighter Jesse Johnson, a beekeeper, removed the bees from the car.

Las Cruces Fire Department

Let’s hope he picked up some Honey Nut Cheerios. A New Mexico man returned to his car after grocery shopping only to discover 15,000 honey bees hitching a ride in the back seat. Thankfully, an off-duty firefighter with beekeeping experience told the bees to buzz off.

On Sunday, the Las Cruces, New Mexico, fire department was called to an Albertsons grocery store, where a shopper had started to drive off before noticing a giant swarm of bees in his back seat. (How did he get that far without noticing? Some questions will never be answered.)

“The Las Cruces Fire Department does not regularly remove bee swarms,” the department said in a Facebook post. “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.”


Firefighter/beekeeper Jesse Johnson brought supplies and wore protective equipment to remove the bees.

Las Cruces Fire Department

The fire department called in off-duty firefighter Jesse Johnson, a beekeeper in his spare time.

“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,” the department said. He treated the hive box with the lemongrass oil to mimic the scent of the queen bee, Johnson told The New York Times.

An estimated 15,000 bees were removed and relocated to Johnson’s property, where he has four hives. 


The driver didn’t notice the swarm at first and started to drive off.

Las Cruces Fire Department

 The car’s driver watched the removal from a safe distance.

“He didn’t want to have anything to do with it,” Johnson told the Times. “He was worried because the car was borrowed from a friend.” 

An Albertsons security guard and one firefighter got stung, but no major injuries were reported.

In 2016, an estimated 10,000 bees were removed from a car in Wales. That reportedly happened because the queen bee got herself stuck in the car’s trunk.

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