Bug Blog

Tragic Killer Bee Attacks That Have Occurred In Arizona

Many people have heard the true story about the fiasco that eventually led to the introduction of Africanized honey bees into the United States. After a colony of killer bees escaped from Brazil in 1956, the insects slowly spread north, and experts knew that it would only be a matter of time before the highly venomous and aggressive bees arrived in the United States. According to researchers at the University of Arizona, killer bees finally reached the state during the month of June in 1993. Actually, killer bees may have arrived in Texas first, as they were recorded as existing within the state in 1991, and the first person attacked by the bees was a resident of Texas. However, Arizona sees the greatest amount of killer bee attack cases by a longshot, as the bees can be found all over the state during the summer season.

During the fall of 1995, an 88 year old Apache Junction woman, Mary Williams, became the first killer bee fatality in the state of Arizona. Upon examination, doctors found that Williams had sustained well over 1,000 stings. Africanized bees have also interrupted sporting events within Arizona. For example, in 2012 a spring training game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants had to be halted due to the presence of killer bees on the field. Luckily, no one sustained a sting, but the bees literally chased a pitcher away from the mound. In 2005, the presence of killer bees ended a baseball game in Tucson, and in 2014, another Diamondbacks game was delayed on account of the ferocious insects. During the early spring of 2010, three people were attacked by the bees while walking about in downtown Phoenix. All three survived, but were in critical condition, and one witness claimed that the victims had bees covering their entire faces. Amazingly, a 2010 incident on Mt. Lemmon saw a hiker survive around 1,500 killer bee stings while he drifted in and out of consciousness. Unfortunately, there is not much a person can do to avoid being swarmed or stung by killer bees, but experts recommend using your shirt to cover your face, just as long as doing so does not make you expose even more bare skin.

Have you ever stumbled upon an active beehive?