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Honeybees attack and kill 73-year-old Dougherty man

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- A 73-year-old man operating a bulldozer died after hundreds of ordinary honeybees attacked and stung him Monday.

Bees attacked Curtis Davis as he moved burning debris on a swath of power line right of way off the 1500 block of Williamsburg Road. He dislodged a hive inside a discarded porch, officials said.

"He was unconscious when we arrived. EMS called us because they couldn't get close to him. There were just thousands of bees," said Lt. Gregory Drummer of the Albany Fire Department. "We had on our turnout gear, but we still got stung a lot."

Drummer said he and other firefighters at the scene used CO2 fire extinguishers to freeze as many of the bees as they could during the attempted rescue.

"He was weak and unconscious when we got to him," Drummer said. "He did have a pulse. EMS took him to Phoebe Putney (Memorial Hospital)."

Firefighters also called in Georgia certified Master Beekeeper Dale Richter to deal with the bees while they put out the debris fire that continued to burn.

"These were not the Africanized bees. These bees were just acting in a defensive manner," Richter said.

Richter said, honey bees are helpful to agriculture and if not disturbed simply go about their business of pollination and making honey.

According to the website nationalgeographic.com, "Bees, via pollination, are responsible for 15 to 30 percent of the food U.S. consumers eat."

The website also stated that there has been a steady decline in the bee population and so far no cause has been found.

Fire Chief James Carswell said, "The best way to deal with bees and other stinging insects is to get out of the area when you encounter them."