More than a million honeybees were killed after the van they were in was involved in a road accident when a car and a van carrying 72 beehives collied on a road near Saussenac in France.

Each hive contained about 20,000 bees, most of each were killed in the accident. Beekeeper Dominique Miras told La Dépêche: "At this time of year the frames are empty and the nectar is liquid. The bees were stuck in it like glue."

Once the hives cracked open a few tens of thousands of bees were able to fly free – and they ended up attacking rescuers as they tried to get the injured car driver out of his vehicle.

Mr Miras estimated the damage at about €7,000 but the major loss was the months of work that was lost as well as the honey production.