Elderly man hospitalized after being attacked by swarm of bees in Petaluma

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Thursday, June 29, 2023
Elderly man saved after being attacked by bees in Petaluma
An elderly man is in the hospital Wednesday after being attacked by a swarm of honey bees in Petaluma.

PETALUMA, Calif. (KGO) -- A North Bay man who was attacked by bees in Petaluma is going to be okay.

Bees were landing on our interviewee's face as we asked about bees that attacked that man in an area of Sonoma County near Highway 37 and Lakeville Highway on Wednesday.

"The bees were uppity, they picked on him and when he came back here the bees followed him and they attacked all of us," said Victor Barbieri who tells us the victim crashed his remote control airplane near beehives.

"When he went over to pick up his plane, is when the bees swarmed," said Kelly Bradley of Gold Ridge Fire.

But beekeeper Susan Kegley of Bees N Blooms Farm says after looking at some of our cellphone video showing the bees, it's clear that this was no normal swarm.

"It's not a normal reproductive swarm which means that it's likely that the hives they've been associated with have been moved while they were out of the hive. They don't have any place to go back to and they are pretty angry about it," said Kegley.

It's still unclear what the beekeepers we saw were doing. The victim though, was stung multiple times.

"When he got out of the car, bees attacked him," said Barbieri.

"When crews arrived, the bees were on and around the head, neck, and chest of the patient," said Bradley.

CPR was performed by witnesses and fire crews continued life saving measures after shooing the bees away, which ended up saving the man.

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ABC7 News went back to where the attack happened six hours later, and the bees were still flying around all over the place near his car.

Beekeeper Kegley says you can't rule out Africanized honey bees but those have not been found in Sonoma County.

Still though, there are many unanswered questions on why the bees were acting like this.

"If you disturb bees, they'll be angry for a little bit but not like this," said Kegley.

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