Man 'awake and alert' after being stung several hundred times by bees in Peoria

Posted at 9:29 AM, Jun 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-07 21:05:28-04

A man is awake and alert after being stung several hundred times by bees near Loop 303 and Lake Pleasant Parkway Wednesday morning, according to Peoria fire.

Fire officials say a Central Arizona Project employee was removing an abandoned couch from underneath the underpass in the area when he noticed a swarm of bees nesting inside the couch. 

The man tried to flee and ran a quarter mile before lying down on the ground, according to Peoria fire. 

A Peoria Police spokesperson said "Every individual tolerates those bee stings differently. He was doing OK when he was transported."

Firefighters found the man lying in a dirt roadway when they arrived on scene. Crews say he was awake and stable before he was flown by helicopter to the hospital. 

David Charlesworth, with ASAP Bee Removal, said finding bees in a couch outside isn't all that surprising.

"We've pulled swarms out from underneath cars, wheel wells, bicycles, motorcycles," Charlesworth said. 

He says bees swarms can also find spots around any home.

"Bees look for an entrance and then space beyond that entrance — like a water valve box, a roof line, shed floors," he said.

ABC15's Megan Thompson decided to suit-up with Charlesworth while he was on the job near 35th Avenue and Glendale in Phoenix. A hive was hidden in a water valve box, it just had a couple bees hovering around it. Once he opened the box the bees went crazy. 

"They're going to defend what they worked real hard to put down," he explained. "That's the honey, the young bees, the queen, you know, it's home. They're going to defend it."

A second worker was stung a few times and was evaluated by crews but not taken to the hospital. 

CAP released the following statement on the incident:

"The staff were removing debris that had been illegally dumped on a major part of critical CAP infrastructure, a siphon that carries water under a riverbed. The employees lifted a large piece of garbage (a dilapidated couch) and unearthed a swarm of bees, which attacked. Both employees are now being treated for stings."

Stay with ABC15 and for updates on this developing story.