Like something out of a 70s B-movie, a suspected killer bee swarm estimated to be 30,000 strong attacked a Texas couple and their horses, stinging the woman 200 times and covering the horses with so many stings that they would later succumb to the venom. The Associated Press reported (via CBS News) July 27 that a massive swarm of bees descended on the couple in an unprovoked attack that ended only after a dive into a nearby swimming pool.
Kristen Beauregard, 44, of Pantego, Texas, first told her story to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, recounting how there were so many bees covering the two miniature horses that they “shimmered.”
“They were chasing us down, they were following us,” Beauregard said Wednesday evening. “We swept up piles and piles of them … it was like a bad movie.”
And a deadly one.
Beauregard was exercising her Shetland pony, Trump, when the bees first appeared. The horse began to jump and kick as the bees came down in a cloud. Beauregard jumped into the pool, the horse following her in.
But the pool proved to be of little help. Beauregard said that the sky grew “dark, like it was nighttime there were so many bees.” And when she would raise her head above the water’s surface to take in air, “they would cover us and start stinging us. We were trying to breathe and they were stinging us in the face and in the nose.”
So Beauregard made a break for the house. As she ran inside, bees pelted the windows. Meanwhile, her boyfriend, who suffered at least 50 stings himself, made a call to 911.
The pony, left behind in the yard, was running around attempting to dislodge the bees by sideswiping bushes.
Firefighters soon arrived. They were outfitted in special gear and used a foam substance to control and clear the attacking bees.
The horses were dragged into a nearby pasture and tended to police and paramedics. However, Chip, a show horse, died before a veterinarian arrived. Trump, heavily sedated by equine veterinarian Patricia Tersteeg at her clinic, held on until Friday morning. She said that most of the bee stings were concentrated around the small horse’s mouth where he apparently held his head above water to breathe.
Besides the couple and the two horses, some chickens and their dog were attacked as well. Five hens died while a sixth was swollen from numerous stings.
A local beekeeper disposed of the hive due to its aggressiveness, Pantego Assistant Police Chief Barry Reeves told the Star-Telegram. “We were told it was a hybrid honey bee,” he said.
A sample of the bees was sent to experts to see if the bees were “Africanized,” the hybrid honey bees that have become known as “killer bees.”
Kristen Beauregard has nothing but praise for the emergency workers that responded to Wednesday’s bee swarm attack on the Texas couple. And she’s recovering, taking lots of Benadryl. Covered in bumps from the swellings, she was even stung on her eyelids. The only place the bees missed were her feet (because of her shoes).
She lives next door to a nursing home and her thoughts turned to the horrible possibility of a killer bee attack there.
The attack on the North Texas couple comes a almost two months after 62-year-old Larry Goodwin was attacked by a swarm of killer bees in Moody, Texas. According to ABC News, Goodwin suffered over 3,000 stings in the attack which occurred in early June as he was mowing his neighbor’s field on his tractor. Moody is located just over 100 south of Pantego.
Most people who die from bee stings happen to be allergic to the venom. Experts say that a non-allergic person weighing about 150 pounds would have to be stung approximately 1,500 times to die from an attack.
Beauregard, who said the encounter had been “incredibly painful,” cautioned anyone with bees on their property to have them taken care of immediately.
Still, perhaps most disturbing of all is Kristen Beauregard’s insistence that the killer bee attack came unprovoked. The Texas couple had done nothing. “We did not disturb the hive,” she said. “We were nowhere near it.”