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'Killer bees' leave Texas man dead, woman in serious condition

Larry Goodwin had "thousands and thousands" of stings on his face and arms, his daughter said. Chris Davis of NBC station KCEN reports.

A Texas man was stung to death after he drove his tractor into a pile of wood that concealed a hive of 40,000 "killer bees," authorities and family members said Sunday.

Every inch of exposed skin was covered with stings on the body of Larry Goodwin, 62, of Moody, Texas, family members told NBC station KCEN of Waco.

"He had thousands and thousands of bee stings on his face and arms," his daughter Tanya said.

Goodwin died Saturday when the Africanized honeybees swarmed him after his tractor struck a pile of wood that included an abandoned chicken coop where the bees had built their hive. The hive encompassed 22 honeycombs harboring an estimated 40,000 bees.

A woman and her daughter who tried to help Moody were stung about 100 times between them, KCEN reported. Neither woman has been identified, but McLennan County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Cawthon said the older woman was in serious condition, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported.

Africanized honeybees — a highly aggressive hybrid of the Western and African honeybees — spread fear in the U.S. long before they arrived in the country from Central America about 15 years ago, fueled by alarming reports of their tactic of swarming their prey in the thousands and earning them the nickname "killer bees."

While federal figures indicate that fewer than a dozen people have been killed by the bees in the U.S., they are anecdotally believed to be proliferating rapidly. Just 2½ months ago, on March 15, emergency crews were called out after thousands of the bees swarmed inside a family's home in Wichita Falls, Texas. 

Emergency crews were called out in March after thousands of bees swarmed inside a Texas family's home. KFDX's Mechell Dixon reports.

Allen Miller, a bee-removal specialist who cleared the giant hive Saturday in Moody, told KCEN that he's run into at least five cases of Africanized hives in the past month — more than he usually sees all year. 

"You can't believe how bad they are. They make me want to get out of this business," Miller told the Tribune-Herald in a separate interview. 

"They can get up under your clothes where no other insect can go," he said. "In a hive of ordinary European bees, about 10 percent will attack if the hive is threatened, but with African bees, all of them attack you."

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