Monday, October 11, 2010

Georgia man demolishing shed killed by Honey Bees

Posted: Oct 11, 2010 4:52 PM EDT
By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  A Dougherty County man was stung to death in a bee attack Monday.
The 73 year old man was on a bulldozer on some property on Williamsburg Road, not far from U.S. 19 in Southeastern Dougherty County. The dozer bumped an old wooden porch post where honey bees had built a giant hive and they swarmed him. Tens of thousands of them attacked Curtis Davis.
Coroner Emma Quimbley says Curtis Davis was stung hundreds of times, too many to count. She told me it was so many stings there would have been little chance of anyone surviving this type of attack.
Several handfuls of dead bees doesn't begin to describe how many tens of thousands swarmed this field where 73 year old Curtis Davis lost his life.
"The bees were probably just three to four inches surrounding the bull dozer dead," said Battalion Chief Marty Leverett, Albany Fire Department.
More than an hour after Davis was attacked, bees still swarmed around the cab of the bulldozer.
"He got overcome by bees and he got stung. Actually he was unconscious when we arrived," said Leverett.
Firefighters battled the bees so paramedics could get to him.
"They had to use a CO2 extinguisher to brush the bees away from him and they used their turn out gear which gave them a pretty good bit of protection to go up and actually get him," said Leverett.
Still many got stung, including Beekeeper Dale Richter who found the honey bee hive inside an old porch rail being moved by the bull dozer.
"Probably between 20,000 and 30,000 honey bees there and with the tractor running and the fire fighters out here with all this equipment, it just kept them highly irritated," said Dale Richter, a beekeeper
"It was kind of scary they were all over your clothes," said Leverett.
While it's unusual for bees to swarm this late in the year, it's always better to check the debris before moving.
"People need to be aware when they're out building or destroying anything like this or pushing down equipment they need to really check for honey bees and yellow jackets," said Richter.
Some firefighters and several members of Davis' family were stung. Everyone has been treated for those stings.
Both the coroner and beekeeper met at the site late this afternoon. While honey bees only sting you once, they say hundreds of stings can be fatal.

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