VIDEO: Swarm of Africanized Bees Attacks Woman, Firefighters in Palm Desert

A total of five firefighters and the woman had to be taken to the hospital after being attacked by the aggressive bees.

A look at the bees that were living inside a Verizon box in a Palm Desert Neighborhood.  Courtesy: Lance Davis' Killer Bee Custom Bee Removal.
A look at the bees that were living inside a Verizon box in a Palm Desert Neighborhood. Courtesy: Lance Davis' Killer Bee Custom Bee Removal.
An elderly woman and five firefighters were rushed to the hospital Thursday night, following an aggressive attack by tens of thousands of Africanized honey bees.

Riverside County Fire Department Spokeswoman Jody Hagemann says the attack was first reported to firefighters at 4:40 p.m., when a woman was attacked by the bees inside a gated Palm Desert community near Frank Sinatra Drive and Cook Street.

A private company was called out as well, Palm Desert based Killer Bee Inc., who estimates that some 75,000 bees were living inside an in-ground Verizon cable box.

"They just went into her car and attacked her," owner Lance Davis told Palm Desert Patch of the attack on the woman.  "They were mad."

The bees didn't stop with the woman, either.  When firefighters got to the scene, they were also attacked by the bees, according to Hagemann.

"They went after anything that moved within a 90 yard radius," Davis added, saying that's typical of these Africanized bees.

Officials on scene told reporters that the woman, 71, was believed to have been stung an estimated 1,000 times.

But though the bees were aggressive, Davis said he and an associate were able to clear them out-- without pesticides.  

What's more, he has already found a new home for them in his 300 hives out in Thermal, Coachella and Oasis where they will be made useful.

"They'll be put to good use where they won't hurt anybody," Davis said, adding that though the bees are more aggressive than European Honey Bees-- they actually make a sweeter honey.

(And if you've ever had the Coachella Valley Brewing Company's "Desert Swarm" beer-- you've actually tasted some of the honey made by Davis's bees.)

Davis, who said he won't charge the county for this and similar emergency calls, added that he frequently responds to calls of service for cable companies and other businesses who find these bees around town.

"We do these jobs all the time, where someone has gotten the bees all excited," he said.  "Sometimes it doesn't take much to get these guys angry."

And if you're wondering why Davis wasn't severely attacked himself, well; he says he has a way with them, having been a bee keeper since 1970.

"My actions are a lot different around them than most people," he said, adding that he talked to the bees as he arrived on scene to help calm them down.  "People call me the bee whisperer, believe it or not."


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