BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) _ Maddie Mix's lunchtime stop at the car wash turned into a three-hour ordeal when a swarm of bees commandeered her newly scrubbed car.

''I just said, 'Why me, Lord?' I've got so much stuff to do,'' Mix said Wednesday as she watched thousands of bees buzz in and out of her Buick.

Gene Humphreys, who owns Hammond Aire Auto Spa, said the first bees landed on the car as it headed into his 100-foot-long wash tunnel.

''When we drove it in through the tunnel, there must have been 100 bees on the door,'' he said Thursday. ''We blasted them off with the hose. ... it wasn't 10 minutes there must have been 10,000 bees all over it.

''They massed so big you couldn't see the color of her car. The interior of her car was black with bees. The ceiling of her car was black with bees.''

The swarm forced him to close the car wash for more than two hours, until a beekeeper from Louisiana State University could remove the swarm.

Humphreys said the bees were ''hitting me like raindrops, they were coming at me in such masses,''

''I thought they were killer bees,'' said Beau Michael, who drove the car through the car wash. He was the only person who got stung - he sat on a bee while moving the car.

Terry Tillman, a former beekeeper who drove into the car wash just as the bees landed, and the LSU beekeeper said the bees apparently were confused because they couldn't find their queen.

Humphreys said the beekeeper lured most of the bees into a trap filled with honeycomb.

Ms. Mix wound up leaving her car at the car wash and getting a ride back to work before the bees were all removed.

Humphreys had a series of photographs of the swarm.

''I gave Maddie ... some of the best of them. She said, 'I know my boss won't believe me if I say that's why I was late to work,' '' he said.