The thousands of honeybees that survived being bounced from a truck on the New Jersey Turnpike Saturday are now residing on the east side of Cherry Hill.

They're in the backyard of beekeeper Seth Belson, who is president of the South Jersey Beekeeper's Association.

While no humans were injured, thousands of bees died after being thrown from their honeycombs onto hot asphalt in 100 degree temperatures on the turnpike near Interchange Three in Runnemede after a northbound truck lost the cargo.

Some bees were rescued by New Jersey's state beekeeper, Tim Shuler, who took them in his car to Belson, the closest bee specialist.

Belson, who is a public defender for the state of New Jersey, is monitoring the hive in the backyard of his Cherry Hill home, where the bees are said to be resting in the shade between two pine trees on the 1.5-acre property.

"I did not find a queen yet, which is not necessarily atypical. . .They're acting normal and at the moment seem to be okay given the heat and the physical disruption that occurred," said Belson, speaking by phone from Rhode Island where he is on vacation.

The hive, which is a nucleus hive, is a small enclosure that probably contained 10,000 to 15,000 bees. Now its population has been reduced to just a few thousand, he explained.

While officials are attempting to locate the driver of the truck transporting the hive, it is unlikely that owners will come forward to claim it, as the truck was most likely just passing through the state, Belson said.

"The nucleus hive is generally what beekeepers use to start new ones," Belson said, which give some clues to whom might have been carrying the bees and for what purpose. For example, the hive could have been on its way to a farm or transported by the hive owner for other purposes.

The task now is to wait and see if the queen bee is still alive or if the bees have crowned a new ruler. If no bee ascends to power, a new queen can be purchased online -- for $20. The worst case scenario is the surviving bees will be moved to another hive, he said.

Beekeepers routinely transport hives by truck to pollinate crops along the East Coast from Maine to Florida.

"They start in February in Florida and hit Maine by August," he said.

Contact staff writer Dan Lieberman at