Bees attack Altus man

Published: Oct. 27, 2006 at 10:58 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2006 at 3:05 PM CST
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Altus, OK--An Altus man is recovering after getting stung by hundreds and hundreds of bees. Experts believe the bees were part killer bee, also known as the Africanized bee. Clem Farley was stung close to 800 times Thursday afternoon while doing some yard work at an empty home in west Altus.  And he was not the first. In fact, 3 other men working outside on the other side of town were stung a number of times, too, but, Farley was stung the worst. In fact, the State Agriculture Department says his case is the third worst case they've seen.

Farley was doing some yard work--something he always does in his down time.  But when he started the lawn mower, the bees went right for him and didn't show any mercy. Farley says he saw the bees moving toward him so he quickly tried to get away.  It didn't work. These bees are known for their aggressive attacks.  They followed him in no time flat.

After that, it was too late. He was literally covered in bees.  So many, you couldn't even see his skin.

While Farley was stumbling, just trying to survive, in the front yard, Carl Spencer was in the neighborhood--driving by shopping for a new home. That's when he saw Farley.  He knew right away he was in trouble.  Spencer wanted Farley to get in his truck, but Farley said no.  He said the bees would attack him, too.  So, Spencer drove up a little way, and dropped the tailgate so Farley could climb on and ride away from source of the bees.

Spencer happens to know Farley.  In fact, they work together at Sheppard Air Force Base. But the bees had blanketed him so completely, he didn't recognize Farley.  He only recognized his jeep.  "He was turning purple," Spencer said.  "The bees looked like a sweater on him, there were so many bees."

Since the attack, Farley has spent his time in a hospital bed, recovering.  He says the pain was unbearable. "After 25 years in the Air Force, I never felt any thing like it," Farley said.

Farley says he couldn't remember most of the attack.

He could only thank his co-worker for being at the right place at the right time. Farley should be released from the hospital on Saturday.

Bee expert Gary Grose of Tipton came out to get rid of the nest.   He says he removed over 200,000 bees on the nest.  He says thankfully, the bees were only part Africanized bees, or else the results could have been far worse.   So far, there have been no deaths reported in Oklahoma from these types of bees. Grose says it's important to know your bees and not try to get rid of the wrong kind.  He says regular honeybees are important to agriculture, so it's best to let the professionals handle it.