A man in Texas was innocently doing his neighbor a favor by using his tractor to help clear some brush when he disturbed a bee colony and was attacked by a swarm of up to 40,000 Africanized bees. They stung him to death so severely that not an inch of his skin was without a stinger. A woman and her daughter who tried to save him with a hose ended up in the hospital as well, the woman in serious condition.
Terrifying. It's a tragedy for his family of unimaginable proportion, but it's also not a cause for panic. It was an extremely rare occurrence. In fact, fewer than a dozen people have been killed in similar ways, and though some say these bees are growing in numbers, it hasn't happened yet.
Africanized honeybees came to the U.S. from Central America about 15 years ago. The hybrid bee -- a cross between African and Western honeybees -- is particularly aggressive, earning them the nickname "killer bees." Scary, yes. But not widespread. See below:
It's the start of summer, which means the start of hearing about all kinds of terrifying things like mosquito-borne illnesses, Africanized bees, and ticks. There are a lot of dangers in the summer, to be sure. But living in fear doesn't do anyone any good.
My heart goes out to this man and his family, but it's not something we are all going to have to face tomorrow. It was a freak occurrence.
By all means, take precaution. Hire professionals to clear any kind of brush that may contain bees. Wear repellent to keep ticks and mosquitoes away. These risks aren't completely made up, after all. But they're also not a reason to stay inside until October, cowering inside the air-conditioned safety.
Horrible things happen to people and that doesn't always mean they will happen to you, too.
Are you afraid of bees?