By Cheryl Fiandaca

SHREWSBURY (CBS) – More than a million bees were left on a hot UPS truck for weeks. By the time a beekeeper was called on Wednesday, most of them were dead.

Anita Deeley is a former Massachusetts Department of Agriculture inspector and a beekeeper. She tells the I-Team, “Almost all of them could have been saved if they called someone right away.”

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The bees were shipped weeks ago, by Mann Lake Ltd., a bee distributor in Pennsylvania. The shipments were going to beekeepers in New England, but UPS says the bees had faulty packaging and were held up in Shrewsbury.

Bees on UPS truck in Shrewsbury (WBZ-TV)

“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 said.

Anita Deeley says the whole situation is tragic because the best thing that could have happened would have been to call in a beekeeper to rescue and maybe even deliver the bees to their destination.

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Anita tells the I-Team the bees only have enough food to live in shipped boxes for a few days. “It’s really, really sad,” Deeley said. “Honeybees are dying in society. It’s really sad and it’s also really disappointing for new beekeepers who ordered bees in the mail and were not to be able to get them.”

Bees on UPS truck in Shrewsbury (WBZ-TV)

The beekeeper UPS brought in to rescue them worked to relocate and release the survivors.

“Bees are really gentle, they normally don’t want to sting you,” Deeley explained. “They are 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.”

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Mann Lake told WBZ it cares about bees and is looking into all aspects of the situation.

Cheryl Fiandaca