A landscaper is dead and several others injured in Arizona after a swarm of about 800,000 bees attacked them on Wednesday morning.
The bees came from a hive in the attic of a Tucson home, fire officials say. The 32-year-old man was taken to the hospital, but died of cardiac arrest shortly after.
Seven others were stung, according to Douglas Fire Chief Mario Novoa.
Four were landscapers with a group called Douglas ARC, which works with citizens who have developmental disabilities, and put them to work on landscaping projects around town, said Novoa.
A neighbor who came out to help, the exterminator, and one firefighter also suffered bee stings.
Novoa said the landscapers were in the yard and were attacked as soon as they turned on the lawnmower.
“Apparently one of the workers was very close to the bees, the bees were located in the eaves of the home, just three feet away,” said Novoa.
An exterminator was able to remove the hive of bees and a portion of the home’s roof was torn off.
Jesus Corella with Southwest Exterminating said he was able to dismantle the massive hive with help from firefighters. They used foam and pesticide to attack the bees.
“It was massive, I mean it was probably a good two feet wide by six feet long, stuck right in the rafters of the eaves, in between the ceiling and attic, I guess.”
The hive is believed to be about 10-years-old. The bees living in the hive were described as aggressive, according to responders.
“They were already dropping down at me even before I started approaching it, that was before I started spraying, they were dive bombing me and that’s a sign to back off, back way off,” said Corella.
Novoa said firefighters were used to responding to bee calls, but this one was different.
“We have one, two, three, even four calls a week, sometimes more. We’re used to that, we even have suits in our fire trucks so we’re ready. However, nothing of this magnitude. We’ve never, ever experienced anything of this magnitude,” said Novoa.
The homeowner, a 90-year-old man, is now staying with family members after evacuating.
SOURCE: TucsonNewsNow | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty