An Arizona man is dead, and three firefighters injured after a swarm of bees stung them hundreds of times on July 29.
The Northwest Fire District (NFD) confirmed police and fire rescue crews responded to multiple emergency reports about a dangerous swarm from a 100 pound beehive in Marana, 102 miles southeast of Phoenix.
“At least six individuals were stung multiple times during the incident,” NFD said on Facebook. “Three patients, believed to have been stung hundreds of times, were transported for or received medical evaluation.”
BL can reveal one of the three victims died. He was not identified.
“One firefighter, believed to have been stung approximately 60 times, was taken to a local hospital for evaluation,” NFD said. “He has since been released. The other two firefighters did not need medical treatment.”
The swarm was so dangerous it forced authorities to temporarily barricade off a section of the area between Moore Road and Thomas Arron Drive, for several hours.
Eventually, the city ordered the swarm to be killed and beehive removed.
“Bee handlers have killed most of the bees and have removed the hive,” Marana Police Department said on Facebook. “Although the area is much safer, there are still some lingering bees.”
The Carl Hayden Bee Research Center suggests the incident is rare since swarms tend to be “docile” in nature.
“The swarm has no resources (brood, queen, food) to protect,” the center website said. “They can actually be quite vulnerable during the swarming process, as they are without the protection of a home.”
“Africanized honey bees do not fly out in angry swarms to randomly attack unlucky victims,” the center added. “Stinging incidents by Africanised honeybees occur when the actual nest site, not the swarm, is disturbed.”