A 71-year old woman is expected to survive after she was stung an estimated 1,000 times by bees, and she wasn’t the only victim.
A bee removal company was called in to remove the swarm of about 80,000 bees. The attack happened just before 5 p.m. Thursday at Lucerne Drive and Merrill Drive, in a neighborhood next to the Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert.
When Cal Fire paramedics arrived on scene, they found an elderly woman covered in Africanized Honey Bees, also known as “Killer Bees.”
“We’re estimating a thousand bees. She was covered as if she had on a bee suit and we threw her in back of ambulance where our guys sustained bee stings,” said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mark Williams.
The woman is now in stable condition, according to a Cal Fire official, but doctors even found stingers on her tongue as the bees enveloped her body.
Neighbors are now safe to come outdoors but still can’t believe what happened.
“You hear about killer bees but you never think you’re going to be attacked by them,” said Brian Johnston, who lives a quarter mile from the attack.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department put out a reverse 911, calling everyone in a two-mile radius, urging them to stay indoors.
Renay Vaughn was trying to get to her cousin’s house when she saw the street blocked off and got out of her car to get more information.
“My husband goes up to me and goes there’s bees in the car and you’ve got the keys,” Vaughn said.
Cal Fire said a Verizon employee placed the original 911 call. He was checking on a report of bees in an underground cable box.
“They came to confirm there was and they found the bees and their representative got stung,” Wiilliams said.
Officials say the hive may have been agitated when the employee lifted the lid of the box. Bee removers from Lance Davis Killer Bee Removal said they vacuumed an estimated 80,000 killer bees.
“I have never seen anything like this before,” Williams said.
Neighbors are still shocked something like this could happen in their own backyard.
“It’s pretty crazy because we have dogs and we walk them and it’s a neighborhood where people ride bikes and there’s kids,” Johnston said.
Lance Davis Killer Bee Removal, which cleared the bees, did it is a public service free of charge. Davis, the master beekeeper, tells us the bees will be relocated to hives in the East Valley for honey and pollen production.