Swarms of killer bees struck twice over the weekend, killing a horse and seriously injuring two others in one attack in Nevada, and hospitalizing a man with hundreds of stings in an attack in Arizona.
In Pahrump, Nev., outside of Las Vegas, the bees attacked from a normally peaceful bee farm across the street from a corral, where a horrified a trainer watched as they swarmed around three horses.
“It sounded like a woman screaming at the top of her lungs,” Yvonne Smith said. “It was terrible. It was something to raise the hair on the back of your neck.”
Smith ran across the street, grabbed a beekeeper’s hat and tried to stop the attack, but the swarm was overwhelming, covering the horses like a blanket.
Some of the bees attacked her, as well.
“Once the action started, well, then it was just all over the place. Anything that was moving, they were going after,” beekeeper Pat O’Neill said.
One of the two other horses that were injured in the incident was said to be clinging to life, his face still riddled with stingers.
Neighbors said they had never had any problems with the bee farm before, and the viciousness of the attack shocked the beekeeper, who found the next day that all his honey bees had been killed. He said it was likely that Africanized bees had taken over his hives.
Three Bees in His Ears
In Tucson, Ariz., a 64-year-old man was stung more than 200 times over 15 minutes before rescuers were able to drive the bees off.
“I couldn’t swat them off fast enough, I couldn’t wash them off,” William Anderson said. “They pulled three bees out of my ears. They had gone that deep into the ear that there were three of them in there.”
The attack started when he was out in his garden and a bee flew into the back of his head.
“I thought, ‘Boy, that was an aggressive bee.’ I swatted it and knocked it on the floor,” he said.
The bee was not alone, though. In an instant Anderson was engulfed in a swarm of angry insects that attacked his face, head and arms.
He was saved when police officers and a paramedic sprayed the bees with soap and water.
Tom Martin of AAA Africanized Bee Removal Specialists told the Tucson Citizen that tests on the insects confirmed that they were Africanized bees.
Anderson was treated at St. Mary’s hospital to relieve the swelling of his tongue, mouth and throat and was given pain relievers, then held for observation, according to a spokesman for the Rural/Metro District Fire Department.
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