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Texas African ("Killer Bees") Bees attack man on lawnmower

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Port Lavaca man 'pretty good' after bee attack

PORT LAVACA — A 68-year-old Port Lavaca man using a tractor to mow tall weeds near his mobile home has survived an attack by a swarm of bees.

"I couldn't see under the house and I didn't touch the house but the noise and vibrations set them off. They came out in a tight, very fast swarm. They were all over me," John Tackett said in a report for Tuesday's Victoria Advocate.

A medic responding to the family's call for help on Sunday removed 60 stingers from Tackett's head, ears, throat and neck. Nurses removed an additional 50 stingers.

After the bees began to attack him, Tackett used his cap to protect his eyes and ran toward his home. He was then struck by the realization that the bees would follow him into his home, where his wife waited.

"It was a mind-boggling thing. Especially when I got to the door and realized I couldn't go in. But my wife was standing at the door. She couldn't believe what she was seeing. She opened the door and dragged me in."

Bonnie Tackett used a movable showerhead and cold water to wash the bees off while they waited for help.

"I feel pretty good right now, but I think people ought to be warned to be real careful and if they see a bee, get away," John Tackett said on Monday. He said he plans to have someone eradicate the bees.

"These guys, they came out in a calculated storm. They got on me and they just stayed. They were organized. I've never seen bees organized before."


African Bees are very defensive of their colony. Loud noises, dark colors and movement will easily provoke a very intense response. People riding lawnmowers comprise a significant proportion of attacks. If you are in an area where African or Africanized bees are known to inhabit, please do a walk-around inspection prior to mowing. --Richard Martyniak

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