Phoenix, Arizona women seriously injured after bee attack

March 20th, 2010 - 3:14 am ICT by BNO News  

By Michael van Poppel
PHOENIX (THAINDIAN NEWS) — A group of women walking down a street in north Phoenix, Arizona were attacked by a large swarm of killer bees on Friday, authorities said.

The incident happened around 8 p.m. local time near a Wal-Mart store in the area of 3rd Ave and Bell Road. Officials say that two women - out of four - were the main target of the bees, whose faces were at one point completely covered with bees.

The victims were rushed to a local hospital, where they remain in a critical condition. Fire department officials say the women were stung more than 200 times, or more than 100 times each.

A man who tried to help the women was attacked too - and was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. He was able to get a hold of a fire extinguisher and handed it over to another male, who helped.

“They looked like that guy in the Guinness Book of World Records. They were just covered head to toe — no skin exposed, their faces weren’t exposed, their clothes weren’t exposed, the bees were in their hair — they were just completely covered,” Tony Garcia told KPHO-TV.

Officials say the attack was carried out by Africanized honey bees, which are best known as killer bees. Since 1990, the bees have spread throughout the southern United States and are known to be extremely aggressive compared to other subspecies. The Africanized honey bees are even known to take over other honey beehives by invading the hive and establishing their own queen after killing the queen which previously occupied the hive.

In the Phoenix area, firefighters respond to about 20 bee calls every single day. By April, this number is expected to reach at least 200.

Bee experts advise people to stay away from swarms of bees and not make any loud noises or wild movements. But if you do get attacked, experts say, you should first cover your eyes, ears, nose and mouth before running away as fast as you can.

In Friday’s incident, firefighters searched the area an found the hive at a home nearby, where it was destroyed.

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