AUSTIN (KXAN) - An elderlyman stung more than 500 times in a bee swarm has been upgradedto fair condition Thursday after being swarmed by angry honeybeeswhile doing yard work Wednesday afternoon.
Emergency crews transported Willard Duncan, 85, to University Medical Center Brackenridge afterthe incident at
A passerby who saw the swarm attack the man called 911. Click here to listen to the call.
"There are bees, like hundreds, swarming around a guy that can'tget up off the ground. Thousands," said the man, describing thescene to the 911 dispatcher. "I don't know what to do in themeantime."
"You've got to hurry up," continued the man, whose tone remainedfairly calm in the frantic situation. "I don't know if there'sanything we can do in the meantime."
Transcription of parts of the 911 phone call
- Dispatcher: "And, is he currently being attacked by bees?"
- Caller: "Yes, yes he is. Badly."
- Dispatcher: "Is there any way you can pull the man ... Can you get close enough to ... "
- Caller: "No, no. I'll be totally ... no. I mean, it's crazy."
- Dispatcher: "Is there any way the man can get up and run?"
- Caller: "Now they're coming at me. I'm down the street." Hear yelling and cursing.
- Dispatcher: "Sir, you need to hang up the phone and get a safe distance from being attacked."
- Caller: "OK. OK."
A friend the victim found him lying in the road and also called911.
“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 cueto get the hell out of here. And that’s what I did,” hesaid.
Crews arrived to find the victim in the street with the hundredsof bee stings. Though he was conscious, officials said the man wasunable to talk, badly swollen in his face. The man even had bees inhis nose, 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 by 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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