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. Curtis

    WOW! ....

    There are still bees in the world!!

    April 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. confused

    I'm confused......if my parents were being stung to death by bees I don't think I would just leave them in the house and drive down the road to call for help. Don't you think you would get them out of the house away from the bees first and take them to the hospital in the car instead of leaving them there and calling for help?

    April 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |

    So sad to read all the inappropriate responses with the loss of life especially two elderly people who probably did not think this thru, we should all respect and have sympathy of this trajedy. I

    April 20, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ronny

    I remember that one time me and my friends got so wasted when we found an active bee hive in my sisters private property owned by her she told us we could blow it up... Damn that was awesome my friend is a bomb disposer, he had a really small amout of explosives that didn't blow up so he let us use it... that was awesome, we didn't even get stung

    April 20, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Heather

    Oh my god how horrible and sad!

    April 20, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. debby

    So horrible. My condolences to their family and friends.

    April 20, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. daudi kanja

    Sad story, RIP., but. I have to admit, oddly comical..!

    April 20, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Fed up

    Wow... We cant even come together to say what a sad story. Everyone is arguing whether the bees were african or not... And i cant believe you guys blame the dems and repubs on how they cant agree... Look at yourselves!

    April 20, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Svaylaa

    (Sorry if I spell stuff wrong)
    Did they bleed out or something, high? Drunk? More questions need to be answered seriosly

    April 20, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Seriously

    I've watch Discovery Channel docs on how a group of 10 hornets can kill an entire thriving hive of honey bees in about 30 minutes or less... sad. But, when just one approaches the hive and investigates, to leave phermones so the other hornets can find the hive and later destory it, they wait for it to enter and then pounce of it and wiggle their bodies to raise the temperature about one degree above that which the hornet can live. That temperature is about one degree below what a honey bee can survive. Its science in action. They could never sting it to death and they're no match for its huge physical size, but they are smarter and use their numbers to defeat the hornet. Amazing!

    April 20, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Svaylaa

    Did the old people die from blood loss or something

    April 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Pat

    It's Obama's fault...

    April 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. StarGenesis

    Wow, This is sad, why didn't they call bee removal, or light the fireplace?

    April 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tim

    The son left his parents inside?

    April 20, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Waytogo

    That's what happens when you attempt something you are not remotely qualified to do. They should have just contacted a bee keeper and they would have removed the hive for free. With no harm to person or bee.

    April 20, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
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