Man stung by bees more than 300 times in Pflugerville

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by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist DEREK RASOR and KVUE.com

khou.com

Posted on August 9, 2012 at 8:30 AM

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas -- Bees in Pflugerville stung four people including one man more than 300 times.

Around 9 a.m. Wednesday, Pflugerville police and EMS crews converge on Worth Hydrochem, a water treatment equipment company on Rowe Lane. At first glance it appeared hazmat crews were there too, but a closer look showed the protective gear was to ward off bees. EMS says the bees stung one man more than 300 times.

Jeff Ruckel was on his way to work when he drove by and saw the man being stung.

"He was sitting on the edge of the driveway, and he had the shirt over his face and trying to fight off the bees," said Ruckel. "Basically, his hand was over his face with the bees covering his arms and his shirt. As I was right next to him, all the bees started trying to sting me through the windshield of my car.

Ruckel called 911, as did others. Austin-Travis County EMS reports the man is in stable condition at St. David's Medical Center Round Rock.

A bee service was called in. After 15 minutes, the hive was found near a dumpster in a discarded dresser cabinet made out of particle board and wood.

"They had filled in a 2' x 2' x 2' square of solid honeycomb," said Keith Huddle, the owner of Keith's Bee Service. "It is almost 100 pounds of honey and over 125,000 bees."

Huddle says the hive was probably created more than a year ago by docile bees, but the recent rains in Central Texas may have allowed a hostile takeover to occur.

"Docile, less aggressive bees will start a hive in an empty space never before used by bees and begin a new hive and grow from there," said Huddle. "More aggressive bees prefer to actually take over less aggressive hives. They swoop in. They kill the queen. They instill their own queen. Immediately, a hive you could walk right by becomes a hive you can't get anywhere close to."

Even hours after the removal of the hive, hundreds of bees from the colony continued to swarm the area. Pflugerville police say they rarely deal with bees, so several roads, including Rowe Lane and portions of FM 685, were shut down for hours until the bee hive had been safely removed.

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