Hundreds of thousands of bees sting man to death

2014-10-09 17:31

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Phoenix - A swarm estimated at hundreds of thousands of bees attacked and killed a landscape gardener and seriously injured another outside a home in southern Arizona on Wednesday, a fire official said.

The two men were cutting the lawn and clearing weeds from the property when they were each stung "hundreds of times" by the aggressive bees, said Douglas Fire Chief Mario Novoa.

One of the men died later at Cochise Regional Hospital, Novoa said, while the other suffered serious injuries.

"We've had a lot of bee stings over the years but nothing even coming close to this," Novoa said by phone. "This was the first time we have ever had a person die from being stung. It's pretty unbelievable."

The victim's names were not immediately released.

Fire officials said they were called to the scene about a possible bee attack and found the two men in severe distress near the residence. Both were rushed to the hospital.

Crews located the massive hive under the roof and applied foam on the area before calling an exterminator, officials said.

Novoa said they opened the eaves and found a 1 x 2m area of honeycomb in the ceiling area. "We were like, 'Wow, we have never seen anything like this before,'" he said.

Novoa said the exterminator poisoned the bees and then removed the hive, which he estimated may have been in the roof of the home for several years.

The bees were likely Africanised honey bees, colloquially known as killer bees, because of their aggressiveness, said Douglas Fire Captain Ray Luzania.

They swarm more frequently than native bees and are considered to be extremely defensive, experts say. 

It was not known what caused the bees to attack in Wednesday's incident.

Read more on:    us  |  insects

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