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Arizona man killed and five others injured after being stung by a swarm of bees


A man was killed and five others were injured after a swarm of bees attacked them in an Arizona neighborhood.

The fatal victim, who has not been identified, along with two other local residents, were stung ‘hundreds of times’ after they disturbed a 100-pound hive in a tree in the backyard of a Marana County home, at around noon on Thursday.

‘Three patients, believed to have been stung hundreds of times, were transported for or received medical evaluation,’ the Northwest Fire District said in a statement on social media. 

Emergencies crews soon arrived on the scene but several firefighters were also stung. Three of them were stung, ‘multiple times,’ and one was hospitalized, but did not suffer life threatening injuries. 

‘One firefighter, believed to have been stung approximately 60 times, was taken to a local hospital for evaluation. He has since been released,’ the Northwest Fire District said.

One man was killed the five others injured in Arizona Thursday after they came near a 100-pound hive in a tree (pictured) in a neighborhood just north of Tuscon, local fire officials reported

The hive was removed and most of the bees were killed by a handler later in the day, the Marana Police Department reported. 

‘A majority of the bees were exterminated,’ Marana Police Sgt. Abel Samano told ABC 7. ‘We had a beekeeper respond and assist us with that.’   

‘Although the area is much safer, there are still some lingering bees,’ The department said in a statement posted to social media that afternoon. ‘Please continue to use caution while in the area.’

Bee swarms are a relatively common occurrence in Arizona as well as encounters with humans, according to the Southern Arizona Beekeepers Association. 

Marana Police Sgt. Abel Samano (pictured) said most of the bees in the swarm were killed by a beekeeper later that day

Marana Police Sgt. Abel Samano (pictured) said most of the bees in the swarm were killed by a beekeeper later that day

‘A person’s chance of running into wild honey bee colonies in the desert southwest is higher than other parts of the country,’ it said, but noted that the chance of dying from honey bee stings was several times less than getting struck by lightning. 

The association said that the most common honey bee in the area is an Africanized hybrid, which can attack people who wander into their territory.  

‘The Africanized hybrid strain thrives best in our particular climate with low rainfall, and mild winter temperatures.’ it said. ‘Even more so around urban areas where people have provided water, numerous man-made cavities, and flowers that are not indigenous to the Sonoran Desert.’ 

In 2017 a horse was killed by a swarm of bees in Prescott, in central Arizona, the city’s fire department reported. 

In the same incident, two women were found nearby with hundreds of bees covering their faces, along with three other horses.

‘The women and the animals were all being stung aggressively,’ Prescott Chief Fire Marshal Don Devendorf said.

Bee swarms are more common in Arizona than elsewhere in the country

Bee swarms are more common in Arizona than elsewhere in the country

In 2017 a horse was killed after being stung by a swarm of bees in Prescott, Arizona. Firefighters were able to move other nearby horses (pictured) out of the area before they suffered more stings

In 2017 a horse was killed after being stung by a swarm of bees in Prescott, Arizona. Firefighters were able to move other nearby horses (pictured) out of the area before they suffered more stings 

On average around 62 people a year are killed by bee, wasp and hornet stings in the US, according to the CDC, with a total of 1,109 deaths from stings recorded from 2000 to 2017.

On average around 62 people a year are killed by bee, wasp and hornet stings in the US, according to the CDC, with a total of 1,109 deaths from stings recorded from 2000 to 2017.

The women were taken to an emergency room, and survived, and firefighters were able to move the other horses out of the area before they suffered more stings.  

Other attacks in Arizona include one in 2015 in which a man survived being stung 500 to 1,000 times, and another later that year in which six people were injured by a another swarm, the Guardian reported.  

On average around 62 people a year are killed by bee, wasp and hornet stings in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with a total of 1,109 deaths from stings recorded from 2000 to 2017.  



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