COLLEGE STATION - Officials at the Texas Apiary Inspection Service have determined that honey bees that attacked and killed a young woman in El Campo Monday were hybrids a mix between Africanized honey bees and regular, European honey bees.
There were a huge number of bees in two nests, said Paul Jackson, chief of TAIS, the Texas A&M University agency charged with regulating the states bee laws. The nests had been there for more than a year.
On Wednesday, Jackson obtained a sample from each of the nests, as well as some retrieved from the body. He said each of the samples from the nests indicated Africanized Honey Bee-European. The sample of bees from the body were no longer in condition to test, but Jackson said it is apparent that the bees came from one or both of the nests, which were near the door of the house where the stinging took place.
Jacksons report indicates that the woman, 36-year-old Francis Hernandez, received more than 250 stings. She is not believed to have been allergic to honey bee venom, he said, but other health factors may have contributed to her death. No autopsy has been ordered.
Since Africanized honey bees entered the state 12 years ago, four people have died in Texas of stings suffered from honey bees that were at least partially Africanized. The stinging Monday was only the second AHB-related case reported in Wharton County since the bees were first found there in 1993. A man and a dog were stung in April 2001. The dog died.
Though it is not known what provoked Mondays attack, since the bees had been residing there for more than a year, Jackson said that because it was Memorial Day, numerous people may have been coming and going from the home, making noises that disturbed the bees.
One hive could not be measured because it extended well into the walls of the home, he said, but the other measured about 18 inches by 10 feet.
And they were raising a bunch of baby bees, Jackson said. Typically, honey bees – whether Africanized or regular European do not attack unless they feel the need to defend baby bees or honey supplies. Maybe someone backed up to the hive and bumped it.
For more information about Africanized honey bees, check