Woman Swarmed While Protecting Family From Bees

Stung over 75 times, the woman has since recovered
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2023 5:47 PM CDT

In a scene worthy of a wildlife thriller, an Arizona mother found herself protecting her kids during a ferocious bee attack at a family photo shoot, per NBC. The incident happened in Buckeye Valley, just outside Phoenix. The woman bravely managed to get her children to safety inside their car, saving them from harm. But, unfortunately, she bore the brunt of the attack, enduring over 75 bee stings. Firefighters sprayed the SUV with foam and rescued the woman's two children, who were uninjured. The woman was hospitalized after the Sunday incident but has since recovered. Fire officials praised her quick thinking.

"I'm not sure as to why she didn't put herself in the car afterward. Maybe she was thinking that the bees would follow her in. But she drew the swarm away and took the brunt of those stings," said Ashley Losch with Arizona Fire and Medical Authority, per Fox 10. The bees responsible for the attack were likely Africanized honeybees, also known as "killer" bees. Notoriously aggressive, they defend their colonies fiercely when threatened. Loud noises, vibrations, and movement within 50-150 feet of their colony can provoke them to attack. Once killer bees begin attacking, they can pursue their victims for a distance of up to 500 feet.

The venom of Africanized bees is no different from regular honey bees—the threat comes from their aggressive behavior. The only reliable way to tell them apart from regular honeybees is by measuring their wings—Africanized bees have different-sized wings. The Arizona Fire and Medical Authority said that if you can't avoid a swarm, you should cover your face and run straight for shelter. "Never get into water and do not fight the bees," the authority said.
(More killer bees stories.)

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