Hundreds of thousands of bees from a massive hive in an Arizona home killed one landscape worker and injured several others this week.
Douglas Fire Chief Mario Novoa told the news station that seven people, including some who came to help after the attack began, were stung in the incident. The worst case was a 32-year-old who was stung hundreds of times, went into cardiac arrest and died.
“Apparently one of the workers was very close to the bees, the bees were located in the eaves of the home, just three feet away,” Novoa said, explaining that the lawnmower likely prompted the attack, according to KOLD.
Some of the landscaping crew, Novoa said, were part of a nonprofit group in the area that helps put people with developmental disabilities to work.
Coincidentally, an exterminator was working on another job near the attack scene at the time and was on hand quickly to assess the bee hive.
“It was massive. I mean, it was probably a good two feet wide by six feet long, stuck right in the rafters of the eaves in between the ceiling and attic, I guess,” Jesus Corella with Southwest Exterminating told KOLD, saying it was likely 10 years old.
The bees themselves, Corella said, were particularly aggressive. He identified them as “Africanized bees” to KSAZ-TV.
“It did get aggressive because the size of the colony was so huge, they were protecting their hive. When you get too close to an Africanized bee colony they’re always going to warn you and attack you, especially when you have a loud vibrating noise like a lawnmower they are going to attack… as soon as I walked in there, they were already dive bombing me, which means it’s a sign of warning you’re near their hive,” Corella told the news station.
Watch KSAZ’s report:
KOLD reported that the 90-year-old owner was evacuated from the home unharmed by firefighters.
The fire chief said his team is prepared to address calls about bees, getting up to four calls a week, but none have been quite like this latest attack.
“We’ve never, ever experienced anything of this magnitude,” Novoa said.
Front page image via Shutterstock.