LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A 95-year-old California man who was stung more than 400 times by a massive swarm of bees was recovering at a local hospital on Thursday, police said.
The attack came as the man was walking past an apartment building in the Los Angeles suburb of Redondo Beach on Wednesday where an exterminator was pumping poison into a giant hive of bees, Redondo Beach Police Sgt. Phil Keenan said.
“The bees became highly agitated and came after the fumigator, who was dressed appropriately and only got stung a few times,” Keenan said.
Keenan said the exterminator quickly retreated but the 95-year-old man was attacked by thousands of bees, which were possibly Africanized.
“He tries to walk or run as fast as he can for being 95 years old and, according to his daughter, there was a Fed Ex truck there so he jumped in the Fed Ex truck,” Keenan said. “The Fed Ex driver gets attacked by the bees also.”
At that point firefighters wearing protective gear arrived and scraped the bees from the man before rushing him to the hospital for treatment of hundreds of bee stings.
“The hospital gave up counting at 400,” Keenan said. “He was probably stung between 500 and 600 times. Obviously he’s not allergic but he was stung everywhere -- the mouth, eyes, nose, ears.”
He said the man’s daughter told police that her father was in good shape and joking at the hospital, where doctors were expected to release him later on Thursday.
Keenan said exterminators had made several attempts to remove the enormous hive from the roof of the apartment building, at one point removing part of the roof and carrying off over 100 pounds of hive and honey.
Crews were expected to return on Thursday evening for another attempt, he said, during which police will likely cordon off the street.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Africanized or “killer” bees swarm more frequently than their European counterparts and can become highly defensive in protecting their hive.
Editing by Cynthia Johnston