LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — A Las Cruces firefighter who is also a beekeeper is credited with safely removing a swarm of bees found inside a parked car.
City of Las Cruces spokesman Dan Trujillo said the incident occurred Sunday shortly after 4 p.m. outside the Albertson's supermarket at 1285 El Paseo Road.
A shopper had put his groceries in his car and was about to drive when he spotted the swarm in the backseat.
Firefighters were called and secured the area. Trujillo said crews decided to call on Jesse Johnson, an off-duty firefighter with beekeeping experience.
"So I said, 'OK, I'll come get it for you guys so we can free up the crew and get this guy home,'" Johnson told ABC News in an interview that aired Wednesday on Good Morning America.
Johnson arrived with proper beekeeping attire as well as tools and was able to remove the bees. The whole process took about two hours.
They were transported to Johnson's own property, which is outside the city limits. Trujillo said the swarm was estimated to be comprised of 15,000 bees.
"The spring is the most common time for bees to swarm," Johnson explained to ABC News. "Bees are very docile. When they're swarming, what they're doing is they're splitting the colony. And it is important because it's vital that we have these insects to continue pollination."
Fire officials said a store security guard was stung but no other injuries were reported.
Trujillo said the Las Cruces Fire Department does not normally remove bee swarms. But they thought calling Johnson was the quickest course of action given the amount of traffic in the area.