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Woman fights for life after being stung head to toe by hundreds of deadly Africanized bees

A California woman is fighting for her life after being stung head to toe by Africanized bees. (Image source: KCAL-TV video screenshot)

A California woman is fighting for her life after being swarmed by Africanized bees, which stung her from her head to her toes.

According to KCAL-TV, the woman — 52-year-old cleaning lady Maria — was swarmed by approximately 80,000 bees and stung more than 200 times.

The incident occurred at a home in Lake Forest on Monday.

At least four firefighters who tried to assist were also hurt in the mass stinging, which took place outside of a home Maria was cleaning along with three other women.

According to KCAL's report, Maria left the house to obtain a mop. While she was outside, the bees attacked, and according to the station's report, Maria's face could not even be seen when firefighters arrived on the scene.

"She probably had a few hundred, if not a thousand, bees just embedded into her hair and crawling all over her face," Orange County Fire Authority Firefighter Ryan Wilson said.

Seeing Maria's dire condition, the firefighters rushed in with a fire extinguisher to help disperse the bees.

"[The firefighters] determined they needed to get that patient away from the bees, so they sprayed them with a carbon dioxide extinguisher and in the process, all four got stung, two multiple times," the Orange County Fire Authority Captain Tony Bommarito.

“[The firefighters] did an excellent job,” Bommarito added. “I hate to use the cliche that they made a life-or-death decision, but that’s just what they did. Hopefully maybe she lives based on what they did.”

According to a report by the Daily Mail, Maria was "barely conscious" by the time first responders got her to safety.

Bommarito noted that 10 pounds of beehives were removed from the scene by a bee-handling company.

According to KCAL's, the cleaning woman was rushed to a local hospital in critical condition, but is expected to live despite the horrific attack and is resting at home.

What are 'Africanized' bees, anyway?

As a report from Texas A&M University noted, "Africanized" bees refer to a hybrid insect that was created by an African honey bee breeding with European honey bees.

The term has been around since the 1990s, and has gained notoriety for the bees' incredibly aggressive behaviors.

Africanized bees are 10 times more likely to sting than your typical bee and are relentless in their pursuit of their victims, according to the report. The Africanized bees have been known to follow their victims up to at least a quarter-mile, and can continue pursuing their victims for up to 24 hours.

Anything else?

In 2014, hundreds of thousands of Africanized bees swarmed an Arizona man, killing him.

In 2013, approximately 40,000 bees swarmed a Texas man, who died from their stings.

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