95-Year-Old California Man Survives 600 Bee Stings

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

Louis Todero, a 95-year-old Redondo Beach resident, was stung up to 600 times when he was swarmed by “thousands of bees” on Wednesday, August 24, according to Redondo Beach Police.  The attack occurred just before 3:00 p.m.


"He's a remarkable man…He got stung all over his neck, his arms and his eyes. He's just lucky to still be here," his daughter Louise told ABC News on Thursday.


Medical experts state that it is possible to die from as few as 50 stings if you are among the approximately 4% of people who are allergic to bee venom.


According to L.A. County Vector Control, a “swarm cluster” can consist of 3,000 to 50,000 bees, and the aggressiveness of the bees that attacked Mr. Todero indicates they are probably Africanized Honey Bees, called “killer bees.”


The bees had their hive in the roof of an apartment house on Ruxton Lane and became agitated when an exterminator attempted to remove them, according to the police. Mr. Todero lives nearby with his daughter and was out taking a walk when he passed the building.


"They tried to warn him, `Don't come. Don't come,"' Louise Todero told ABC News. "But I don't think he heard them even though he had his hearing aids in."


The bees reportedly also attacked the exterminator and responding firemen, but they were wearing protective gear.


It was first estimated that Mr. Todero had been stung around 200 times, but hospital officials reportedly increased that number after removing and counting the stingers. Sgt. Phil Keenan, spokesman for the Redondo Beach Police Department, announced that Todero is “doing fine."  "Most men would have died, but he’s taking it in stride,” Keenan told the L.A. Times.http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/08/95-year-old-man-stung-bees.html


Louis Todero was still hospitalized in Torrance as of Thursday, August 25, but is reported to be in good condition. He was scheduled to go home on Wednesday, but hospital officials decided to delay his release as a precautionary measure.


The bee hive was set to be removed on Thursday evening, but the large number of media crews caused Redondo Beach Police to order a delay until there is less activity in the neighborhood. The street was reportedly covered with dead bees after the attack on Mr. Todero. It is now cordoned off for public safety, Sgt. Keenan said.


Africanized Honey Bees


Africanized honey bees, also called “killer bees,” arrived in Southern California in 1994 and are closely related to the European honey bee used in agriculture for crop pollination and honey production, according to Living with Africanized Honey Bees. (LA County West Vector Control District)


Africanized and European honey bees look identical and both can sting only once. They have the same venom and protect their colony by stinging in defense.


The differences are that Africanized honey bees (1) respond quickly and in larger numbers; (2) defend a larger area around their hive and will pursue intruders one-quarter mile, or more; (3) nest in small cavities and sheltered areas.


Essortment explains that, “a bee's stinger is…a small barbed stinger that has a venom sack attached that can continue to pump venom into your system for 20 minutes after you have been stung. It can also release a hormone into the air that will make other bees in the area more aggressive and apt to sting also. So it is imperative to remove the stinger as quickly as possible and stop the venom from pumping.” http://www.essortment.com/bee-sting-treatment-22011.html


L.A. County Vector Control urges anyone stung by a bee to quickly go to a safe area and remove the stinger. They recommend scraping the stinger out with a fingernail or credit card if tweezers are not available. Avoid squeezing the venom sac. Then wash the area with soap and water. For multiple stings or hypersensitive individuals, seek immediate medical attention.   More at…www.lawestvector.org