Swarming bees kill elderly Texas couple
The species of bee involved in a fatal attack on an elderly couple has not been identified, a Texas paper reports.
April 20th, 2011
10:57 AM ET

Swarming bees kill elderly Texas couple

An elderly Texas couple were killed by bees this week after they apparently tried to remove the insects from a fireplace in a house on a remote ranch, the Valley Morning Star reported Wednesday.

William Steele, 90, died Monday in the house on a ranch outside Hebbronville, Texas, about 100 miles west of Corpus Christi. His wife, Myrtle Steele, 92, died Tuesday after she was flown to a Corpus Christi hospital, the couple's daughter-in-law, Judy Steele, told the newspaper.

Judy Steele told the paper that the bees swarmed when her father-in-law sprayed a hive the insects had built in the small home's fireplace.

Her husband, Richard Steele, was with his parents when the attack occurred, Judy Steele, told the Morning Star. He was also stung but was able to drive several miles to the nearest phone to call emergency services, she said. There is no cell phone service in the remote area, she said.

Jim Hogg County sheriff's deputies responded and told the paper they were able to get Myrtle Steele out of the house.

“We were getting stung in the process, but we were able to place a blanket over her and take her to an awaiting ambulance - we did what we could,” the paper quoted Deputy Reyes Espinoza as saying. William Steele died inside, Espinoza said.

Judy Steele said her mother-in-law was stung more than 300 times.

Espinoza told the paper the species of bee involved in the attack had not been identified and the hive had yet to be removed from the house.

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Filed under: Animals • Bees • Texas
soundoff (379 Responses)
  1. Liz In dc

    So sad. no family members to help them? oh were they all too bussy until it was too late.

    April 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dave Evans

    Look, if the bee keepers are the ones spreading these aggressive bees, well then, they are the last people who should be called... Exterminate overly aggressive bees.

    April 20, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Linda

    I may have missed something here but... did the son-in-law just abandon his parents to get into his car to drive to a telephone to call for help? Why didn't he put them into the car with him? Just curious.

    April 20, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • confused

      Exactly.....this is either a very poorly written story or something really fishy is going on.

      April 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mama G

      Let's think about this one. Usually when bees swarm and sting someone like that they are all over the person's body. Trying to move them into a vehicle would have meant that the bees would have to be removed (nearly inpossible) or in trying to move them into the car the bees would follow; then you would be driving a car full of- bees. Makes sense to me.

      April 20, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Smith

    This death should be on an episode of 1000 ways to die

    April 20, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Carly

    Have any of the bees been arrested?

    April 20, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chopswell

      They're "African-Americanized" Bees.....That's why. Our prisons have too many of 'them types' already. We need more European bees to be more politically correct....

      April 20, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tanker


    April 20, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. john


    April 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Hunter

    The last hunter isn't me, and I was just saying, I was not posting on the wrong board

    April 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dr. Delhi

    ... God Hates Texas !!

    April 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. john

    i would think calling them africanized would be bad, but that does explain why they just loaf around

    April 20, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chopswell

    I'da duck taped plastic over the opening with a fan, blowing in to the fireplace on high and had like 3 or 4 cans of raid wasp and hornet killer and stuck my gloved arm in there and discharged all 3 or 4 cans with the fan blowing and sealed the tape and kept fan running on high for several minutes.

    April 20, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • oldostritch

      You would have run like hell before you put up the second piece of duct tape.

      April 20, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chopswell

      Naaaaaaaaaaa. I'd'a had my cooler right there, full'a ice cold Buds, and sat 'n watched'm fall like rain, into my ash-pan.

      April 20, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nadiene

    Another great thing to come out of africa. Killer Bees.

    April 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • marshall

      The word "Africanized" is racist propaganda.

      April 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chopswell

      "JUNGLE-ized-BEEZ" yeah. WIth the munkee lips 'n ev'rythang...

      April 20, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. gula

    que triste!!!!!!

    April 20, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Quincey9

    Now, if bees make a nest in a fireplace your options are 1. spray with bee killer 2. bang on the mantle and disturb them or 3. LIGHT A FREAKIN' FIRE AND GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!

    April 20, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • oldostritch

      And don't stop until you're out of range of the lawyers as the house burns down!

      April 20, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John Zvackni Mack Jr.

    A reaseon me and my neighbors made an agreement, any bee/wasp hive in the neighborhood will be removed at the first shot possible, I am allergic to both and so arm my three kids

    April 20, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
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