A man was attacked by a swarm of hundreds of bees while trying to weed a lawn in San Angelo, Texas. He was rushed to the hospital Wednesday morning after firefighters and medics rescued him from the onslaught, in which three women in the area were also stung.
Local authorities characterized his injuries, which amounted to several hundred bee stings, as “desperate” compared to those sustained by the women. Two of the other victims were treated on the scene, and the third was taken to the hospital in a private vehicle, the San Angelo Standard-Times reports.
The San Angelo Fire Department located the bee hive in a store restroom not open to the public. According to Lt. Tony Huston, “It was in the back in the wall. We had to take down part of the wall.”
He went on to state that while many bees were killed, “There’s still a lot of strays flying around.”
Reporters were told to steer clear of the area by officials.
The firefighters were unable to put on protective equipment when they arrived on the scene. “When we got there they were just swarming all over him,” Lt. Huston said, “He couldn’t get rid of them.”
The rescuers immediately set to work using a foam spray to suffocate the bees.
Assistant Chief of Operations Scott Farris said that when bees are aggressive, fire department personnel assume they’re Africanized, but that he did not know for sure in this case.
Africanized honey bees are an invasive species known colloquially as “killer bees” or “African killer bees.” They are actually a cross between African and southern European honeybees that spread to South America in the 1950s and reached the southwestern U.S. by the 1990s.
According to a police department news release, the man was brought to Shannon Medical Center for treatment, but his current condition is unknown.