AUSTIN (KXAN) - An elderly man stung more than 500 times in a bee swarm washospitalized with life-threatening injuries, but officials wereunable to find a hive.
The man was in critical but stable condition on Wednesday afterthe incident on the city's East Side.
Emergency crews transported Willard Duncan, 85, to University Medical CenterBrackenridge.
He was stung while doing yard work at
A friend of his found him lying in the road and called 911.
“I turned around the corner and seen Mr. Duncan laying onthe ground," said Wayne William. "He was lying on his side. Hishair was golden and had bees swarming all around. You step out10-20 feet and there was another perimeter of bees like they builta barricade around him.”
“I got stung in the back of my head and that was my cue toget the hell out of here and that’s what I did,” hesaid.
Crews arrived to find him in the street with the hundreds of beestings. Though he was conscious, officials said the man was unableto talk, badly swollen in his face. The man even had bees in hisnose, officials said.
In addition, a paramedic received a few treatable stings.
Officials worked for nearly two hours to find the hive, unsureof the location of the bee source, but were unable to locate one.Instead, a beekeeper said it may have been a moving swarm hiding ina grass patch - a patch the victim may have inadvertently mowedover.
“And they get pretty defensive. Like this gentleman mowingthe lawnmower. You never want to mow around a bee hive, theydon’t like lawnmowers,” said Brandon Ferhenkamp with Austinbees.com.
He has a website that specializes in bee care and treatment.
The beekeper said the bees looked like "your average honeybee,"though the beekeper said they were probably agitated.
In addition to private handlers called to the scene, four- tofive firefighters donned bee suits to try and assess thesituation.
Meanwhile, bee drones swarmed as far as a block away from wherethe incident happened. The AustinPolice Department helped with traffic, blocking offneighborhoods from 12th to 14th streets on Waller Street, includinga block east and west. The situation had been cleared Wednesdayafternoon.
Swarming is a natural means of reproduction of bee colonies.It's mainly a spring phenomenon, but can also happen during thesummer.
Most bees attack in response to some sort of intrusionagainst their hive. If that happens - here's what you need toknow:
- Run as fast as you can far away from the attack began.
- Get inside a building as fast as possible.
- Jumping in the water may not help because bees may still be above you when you resurface.
- As soon as you're safe, start to remove the stingers as quickly as possible to keep as much venom out of your body as possible.
- And lastly, call or have someone call 911 for you.
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