A Texas man was driving his tractor on his neighbor’s land when he accidentally hit a hive of 40,000 killer bees hidden in a discarded chicken coop. He was stung to death.
Larry Goodwin ran from the tractor to a nearby house where he tried to use a garden hose on himself to ward off the bees. The neighbor’s wife ran out of the house to help Goodwin and was also attacked by the bees, the Waco Tribune-Herald reports.
“You can’t believe how bad they are. They make me want to get out of this business,” Allen Miller, owner of Bees Be Gone, who removed the hive, told the Waco Tribune-Herald. “They can get up under your clothes where no other insect can go. In a hive of ordinary European bees, about 10 percent will attack if the hive is threatened, but with African bees, all of them attack you.”
The attack took place in Moody, about 26 miles south of Waco, Texas. Onlookers called 911 and responders tried to resuscitate Goodwin, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, KCEN-TV reports. Several firefighters were also stung by the swarm.
Miller says the hive contained 40,000 Africanized bees with 22 honeycombs. Goodwin was trying to consolidate a brush pile when he hit the year-old hive.
Africanized bees are a highly aggressive hybrid of Western and African honeybees. They arrived in the United States 15 years ago and have been nicknamed “killer bees” for their swarming tactics, according to NBC News.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, “killer bees” don’t randomly attack unlucky bystanders. Rather, they become defensive when they feel their hive is threatened.
Goodwin, who celebrated his 62nd birthday days before his death, had stings on every visible part of his body, his family said.
"If anybody has any brush or anything on their lands, please clear it, because they don't want to go through this. Nobody needs to go through this," Goodwin’s daughters, Tanya Goodwin and Kelley Flores, said.