LAWTON, Okla._A neighborhood street was shut down and a three bee keepers were rushed to the hospital Thursday afternoon after a swarm of tens of thousands of angry bees unleashed their venom.
Police say three bee keepers from Duncan were called to a home on Northwest 27th Street, just north of Gore Boulevard, to remove a bee infestation around 10:30 a.m. There, bees were able to get into one of their suits and the worker and triggered what could have been a deadly attack.
When bees sting, they emit an alarm pheromone that attracts other bees. That pheromone warns nearby bees of possible danger, causing them to go on the defense. All three bee keepers were stung, and one of them had an extreme allergic reaction.
"When I drove to the area, there were several bees that were hitting my unit. I mean, they were in the area, no doubt about it," said Capt. Cliff Blasengame, Lawton Police Department.
Captain Blasengame says the bees were so aggressive, EMTs had no choice but to keep their doors and windows shut. Two of the bee keepers, while covered in hundreds of bees, ordered emergency personnel to stay back as they carried a third bee keeper to a fire truck. The two workers were able to climb on and lift their seriously injured co-worker onto the truck's ledge where firefighters normally stand to fight fires.
All three hung on while they were rushed to the hospital. Meanwhile, police blocked off a two-block radius, warning those nearby of the potential danger.
"We advised people in the area to stay in their homes. If you're in vehicles, roll windows [up], and basically we contacted the school system for stops in the area and said make other arrangements for buses," Capt. Blasengame explained.
Firefighters say they could see some of the bee stingers that had broken off in workers protective suits. They say, luckily, the hospital was only two blocks away, and the drive caused several of the bees to fall off before they arrived.
Once at the hospital, they say one of the men drifted in and out of consciousness, but is expected to survive.
Another bee keeper was called in and was able to remove between 20,000 and 40,000 bees. He identified the bees as a European strain, and not Africanized. He plans to return Friday morning to remove thousands more.