Killer Bees Death: How Did Larry Goodwin Come Across 40,000 Africanized Bees In Texas?

By Philip Ross on June 3, 2013 11:06 AM EDT

killer bees death
Africanized bees, a.k.a. killer bees, were brought to the Americas in the 1950s from Africa. They reached the U.S. in 1990, first cropping up in Texas, then spreading to Arizona and California. (Photo: Reuters)

Killer bees attacked and killed a 62-year-old man in Texas over the weekend. The fatal killer bees attack also resulted in one woman being hospitalized in critical condition.

Sky News reports that Larry Goodwin was clearing debris containing a discarded chicken coop from a neighbor's yard in Moody, Texas, a city about 120 miles south of Dallas, when he disturbed a hive of Africanized honey bees, known colloquially as killer bees. Twenty-two honeycombs and some 40,000 bees were nesting in the chicken coop, said Allen Miller, the animal control expert called in to remove the hive following the killer bees attack.

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After disrupting the killer bees' hive with his tractor, Goodwin bolted towards the neighbor's house and grabbed a garden hose to ward off the killer bee swarm. According to Daily Mail, the wife and daughter came out from the home to help Goodwin fight off the killer bees, and were also viciously attacked by the Africanized bees.

An eyewitness to the killer bees death phoned 911 to report the attack. When firefighters showed up on scene, they, too, were stung.

One of the women who tried to help Goodwin escape the killer bees was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Since Africanized killer bees first appeared in the U.S. in 1990, there have been eight killer bee deaths. Often, local bee exterminators will remove killer bee hives before they harm anyone. Miller, who owns Bee Be Gone, a bee removal company, said that Africanized bees swarm when their hive is threatened.

"You can't believe how bad they are," Miller told Sky News. "They make me want to get out of this business."

He also said that, unlike European honeybees, which send about 10 percent of their bees to attack potential intruders, Africanized honeybees send the entire hive.

According to the Agricultural Research Service, or ARS, the average person can withstand about 10 killer bee stings per pound of body weight. That means a grown person, assuming he isn't allergic to bee stings, can survive about 1,500 bee stings. A child, however, can die from just 500.

Africanized killer bees were first brought to the Americas from Africa sometime in the 1950s in order to breed them with European bees to make a hybrid bee better suited to the South American tropical climate. The first killer bees swarm in the U.S. was found in 1990 in Texas. Since then, killer bees have established colonies all over the southwestern corner of the U.S.

In the case of an Africanized bee attack, the ARS recommends one thing: Run. Pull your shirt up over your head to keep the killer bees away from reaching the sensitive parts of the face. Keep running until you reach a place of shelter, like a building or car. Entering a well-lit area is ideal, as the bees will become disoriented and head for the windows.

Do not jump into water, as the bees will wait for you to surface for air. It is best to cover yourself with blankets or clothing. Do not swing, swat or crush the bees, because killer bees are attracted to movement and dead bees also emit an odor that attracts more bees.

Read more from iScience Times:

Bee Swarm Kills Dog In Los Angeles; 5 Facts About Killer Bees

100,000 Killer Bees Attack; Watch The Victims Describe The Vicious Attack [VIDEO]

Colony Collapse Disorder: Are Honeybees In Danger Of Dying Off?

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