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Woman is stung; 60,000 bees killed


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Woman is stung; 60,000 bees killed



The Amarillo Globe-News

Publication Date: 07/23/04

An estimated 60,000 bees died Thursday and at least one woman suffered multiple bee stings during a commotion surrounding removal of a bee hive.

Local beekeeper Charlie Kroeger said the manager of an apartment complex at 3008 S.W. 28th Ave. called Amarillo Animal Control, which contacted Kroeger about removing the hive.

What Kroeger said turned out to be a large hive was hidden from view between enclosed ceiling joists on an overhanging roof above a second-floor balcony.

Kroeger, who has worked with bees for 30 years, said he removed a panel and saw the size of the hive and the aggressiveness of the bees.

About 3 p.m., a resident at the complex drove up during the bee removal operation and started walking to her second-floor apartment. The bees began to buzz around her, Kroeger said.

He advised her to go the other direction at a run, which typically would leave the bees behind. Instead, she made a beeline for her apartment, right next to the hive, he said.

She reached her apartment with numerous stings and called 911, which dispatched paramedics, Kroeger said.

The paramedics initially could not approach the apartment because thousands of agitated bees were in the area and bent on defending their hive, Kroeger said.

Amarillo firefighters came to the scene and blocked off the street. Some firefighters donned protective suits and prepared to use chemicals to wipe out the bees.

Kroeger said he stepped in with a simpler and safer method to kill an estimated three-quarters of the hive: spraying water.

The woman who was stung went to a hospital for observation, Kroeger said.

As to whether the bees might be an "Africanized" strain, Kroeger said there's no way to know unless the city chooses to send a sample to the state beekeeper in College Station for examination.

"I will just say that they were more aggressive than average honeybees. There's no way to tell by looking except by looking under a microscope," he said. "They act like they may have some Africanized genetic material."

Later, the apartments were quiet. One man who lives there spoke behind his door, which he opened a crack.

"Better watch out. You'll get stung by bees," the man advised.

Marcus Bell, a resident of nearby Covington Pointe Apartments, said he didn't know anything about the bees as he let his pug, Tone, out on to the lawn.

"I'm glad I didn't take my dog for a walk today," he said.

Globe-News Staff Writer Joe Chapman contributed to this report.

© The Amarillo Globe-News Online


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