Woman survives bee attack after more than 100 stings

Woman survives bee attack with more than 100 stings

The scariest moment of Barbara Strmiska's life came when she was mowing the lawn.

Strmiska was at home last month in Corsicana, carrying out a routine chore.  But she didn't know her water meter box had become host to a hive of Africanized "Killer" Bees.

"I'm thinking it was the vibration from the mower," Strmiska recalled Monday.

Suddenly, she felt a sting on her upper lip and then she was the center of a swarm.

"It seemed like there were hundreds of them just all around me," Strmiska said.  "There were a couple times when I just felt that I wanted to lay on the ground in a fetal position, but I knew I had to keep moving.  It was very terrifying."

Strmiska, a nurse, first shared her story with the Corsicana Daily Sun.  She kept her wits about her and tried to get help.  She ran into the street, then to a neighbor who hosed her down and got her inside.  She thought the bees were bone, but when she went back out, she was swarmed again.

"Some type of odor or a scent, they know you're the enemy," she said.

Strmiska had to be taken to the ER. She suffered over a hundred stings, the worst to her eye. 

"The worst was a stinger in my eyeball itself, and that was the one that hurt the most," she said.

An Africanized bee sting is no more venemous than a regular honeybee, but victims are likely to suffer far more of them because of their aggressive nature.  The bees first appeared in Texas in the 1990s and are now present throughout the Metroplex.

"They can be in a water meter box, they can be in a tree, they can be in your house, they can be in a dog house," said Harold Wright, a Bee Expert and the owner of Bee Safe Bee Removal.

Wright said that now is the peak season for bee activity. Today, he was finishing up a removal job at a home in Red Oak where he found a tree full of Africanized bees.  While he rescues honeybee colonies, Africanized bees hives are generally killed.  Even in double layers of protective clothing, he said the bees had managed to swarm and sting him more than 20 times.

"When you see them, just definitely, definitely try to resist the temptation to remove them yourself," Wright said. 

Wriught said that if you're attacked by a swarm of bees, the best thing to do is immediately get indoors or in a car to remove yourself from further danger.

"A lot of people think they can go jump in the pool or spray themselves off," Wright said.  "If you're outside, you're in their element."

The hive that attacked Strmiska has now been removed, but she's still afraid to return to her home.  She's been staying with her mother nearby.  She's able to work at her nursing job in Waxahachie, but she says that she still has some lingering issues with her vision and other symptoms.

"My legs gave out on me a couple of times," she said.

Still, she's grateful to be okay and wants to warn others of a real danger.

"They're very relentless, and they just kept coming and coming," she said.  "I don't know what would happen with a child or an elderly person."

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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