In an effort to increase honey production, a scientist crossbred Africanized honey bees with other honey bee species in the country of Brazil back in 1956. Unfortunately, this experimental quest to improve the world with more honey went terribly wrong, as the excessively aggressive Africanized honey bees escaped from their laboratory hives. For a period of 35 years, the fugitive Africanized honey bees gradually traveled north before arriving in south Texas as late as 1990. During their long journey up north, the Africanized bees attacked, hospitalized and killed scores of humans and animals, earning the fugitive bee species their infamous “killer bee” nickname.
As you can guess, the scientist who was ultimately at fault for the bee’s escape did not earn a Nobel Prize for his experiment in Brazil. However, due to his flub, he can claim indirect responsibility for the thousands of human deaths that the bees have caused over an area spanning two continents. In fact, Africanized honey bees are still attacking and killing residents of the southwest US and numerous other regions to this day, and due to their interbreeding with common honey bees in North America, the killer bees are here to stay. Unfortunately, a Texas couple, Vern and Mary Roberts, know this all to well, as they sustained a near fatal attack by killer bees last fall on their property just outside Houston.
While mowing his lawn, Vern sustained around 600 killer bee stings in just about every part of his body, including his throat, mouth and ear canals. Terrified, Mary ran to her husband’s aid, but she sustained 60 killer bee stings herself in the process. After a death-defying struggle, the couple made it into their home where they called 911. Once paramedics arrived, they too were not spared the bee’s wrath, as they sustained stings during the attempted rescue. In order to seek medical assistance, the couple bravely ventured outdoors where they made a “beeline” for the ambulance, sustaining several more stings in the process. Amazingly, despite the couple’s advanced ages, they survived and made a full recovery. But to be safe, every Texas resident should notify a pest control service upon discovering any wild beehive.
Do you fear falling victim to a killer bee attack?