On Saturday, Texas man Larry Goodwin, who turned 62 on Friday, was killed when he accidentally disturbed a hive of more than 40,000 Africanized killer bees. The attack comes in the wake of a noticed increase in the presence of Africanized killer bees throughout the American Southwest. Here is what you need to know:
1. Goodwin Was Helping a Neighbor With Yard Work When He Was Attacked
According to KCEN-TV, the local NBC-affiliate news station that broke the story, Goodwin was helping his neighbor consolidate a brush pile and straighten up the back yard when he disturbed the hive which contained over 40,000 bees. His tractor nudged a pile of old wood that contained a bee infested old chicken coop.
2. He Suffered Stings on “Every Inch of Skin”
According to his family , there was absolutely no visible skin that had not been covered with stings. This behavior is characteristic of Africanized killer bees who are known to be incredibly defensive of their hive, attacking trespassers for up to a quarter of a mile before the threat is considered neutralized.
3. The Neighbors Tried to Help and Also Sustained Stings
When the neighbors saw him getting attacked, both the mother and daughter of the house ran out to help. This resulted in both of them being stung and suffering at least 100 stings between the two of them according to NBC and the Waco Tribune. According to the Waco Tribune, the older of the two women is still in serious condition.
4. It Happen in Moody, Texas Inside Killer Bee Territory
Moody, Texas has been within the growing Africanized killer bee territory for almost seven years now as the territory continues to expand. The overly-aggressive species began as imported African bees in Brazil in 1956, but as the cross breeding with European honey bees continued, the breeders lost control of the species. Since then the bees have been expanding northward at the rate of almost 100 to 200 miles per year.
5. Killer Bees are a Growing Problem
Bee attacks from Africanized killer bees have increased over the last few years and their populations are believed to be growing. According to the bee expert who removed the hive that killed Larry Goodwin, he has see five of these hives in the last month which is more than he usually sees in a whole year. Just this year the first evidence of Africanized bees were found as far north as Tennessee for the first time.