A Texas man was hospitalized last week after being stung by about 600 Africanized bees while out in his yard.
What are the details?
Vern Roberts, a resident of Wallis, Texas, was mowing his lawn last week when he was attacked by the swarm.
According to reports, the bees stung Roberts hundreds of times, all over his body. Some of them even ended up in his mouth and throat.
“I tried to get away,” Roberts told KHOU-TV. “It was starting to overwhelm me. I tried to ‘stop, drop and roll,’ did all kinds of ‘protect me’ things,’ but it kept overwhelming and basically knocking me down.”
“I would stagger and fall and flop around, all sorts of things,” he added, noting that his wife, Mary, heard his cries for help and was, herself, stung over 60 times trying to intervene.
Mary was able to call 911, but even when first responders arrived, they had issues getting out of the ambulance safely due to the swarm. Paramedics were finally able to get to Vern, but had to continuously fight off the swarm every step of the way.
After sustaining hundreds of stings, Vern was hospitalized in the intensive care unit of a local hospital. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Vern Roberts wasn’t the only Texan impacted this month by Africanized bees.
Kenneth Roy LaFavers, a 77-year-old resident of Breckenridge, Texas, ran into a swarm of bees on Friday and was hospitalized in serious condition.
According to Breckenridge Fire Chief Calvin Chaney, LaFavers was also mowing his lawn when “highly aggressive bees” attacked him.
The large hive, which was attached to an eave on LaFavers’ home, was removed three days after the attack.
What are Africanized bees, anyway?
Africanized bees refer to a hybrid insect that was created by an African honey bee breeding with European honey bees, according to a report from Texas A&M University.
The term isn’t new; it’s been around since the 1990s, and has gained notoriety for the bees’ incredibly aggressive behaviors.
Africanized bees are 10 times more likely to sting a victim than your typical bee. Africanized bees are also relentless in pursuit of victims. Such bees have been known to follow victims up to at least a quarter-mile, and can continue pursuing their victims for up to 24 hours.