Man hospitalized after bees attack

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MESQUITE, Nev. - A swarm of bees sent one man to a Nevada hospital Thursday after he was stung multiple times. Mesquite firefighters responded, but they said there was no sign of a hive.

It happened just before noon at the Virgin Valley Convenience store just north of I-15. Employees at the store said it was a truck driver that had parked in the nearby truck stop and walked right into the rogue bees.

“He had five, six, seven at least that I could see,” store clerk Jack Keyte said. “He didn’t swell up real bad, but it did affect him pretty good. He was having a hard time breathing.”

Mesquite fire captain John Gately said they sent a truck and an ambulance. Medics counted between 20 and 30 stings, many with the stinger still attached. The man didn’t appear to be allergic, but did show early stages of anaphylaxis. Medics stabilized the man and transported him to an area hospital.

“Thankfully the man had managed to run to the store and get away from the swarm,” Gately said. “We were able to pull a line off the engine and use some compressed air foam, which kills the bees pretty much on contact, and kind of hose down the area. There were still quite a few bees when we left.”

Gately said they searched the area for a hive, but couldn’t find one. Keyte said he has a theory: He believes a semi hauling bee hives stopped at the truck stop and those several hundred bees got left behind.

“I’ve been here 10 years, and I’ve probably seen five or six [truck loads],” Keyte said. “So when they pull over and stop the bees will roam. Then if they get in their truck and leave, then the bees are left behind.”

Gately said with nowhere to go, the bees began swarming around nearby flowering bushes, and when the truck driver walked through, they attacked.

“Obviously when they’re left behind with nowhere to go, they get a little agitated and defend whatever area they settle on,” Gately said.

The truck driver is expected to recover fully. Keyte said the bees can only survive a few days without the hive, but there’s still a risk whenever a hive load rolls through town.