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. sillyshelly

    Oh wow...what a horrible way to die. 🙁 I'm terrified of bees!

    My condolences to the family for their loss. May William & Myrtle rest in peace.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Wu Tang Killa Beez

    Which ones are responsible? Method Man, Ghost Face Killa or Inspectah Deck?

    April 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John

    But what was the actual cause of death? Hard to believe they were both allergic to bee stings. I looked it up in google and it says that an average man can die after being stinged about 1000 times. I know they were elderly, but still would take a lot of stings. Even if a bee can only sting once before it dies, an average sized hive can have about 50.000 bees. Although i doubt it could be that large because they would notice after just a few dozens..

    April 20, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • michelle

      Probably because these weren't bees at all, but yellow jackets.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Amy

    I drove through a huge swarm of bees in Corpus Christi a few weeks ago – I have never seen anything like it in my life...I thought it was dragonflys at first...I wonder if it was the same ones....probably not

    April 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dumboldpeople

    Stupid old idiots. Darwin took you all way too late.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Anonymous

    The son left his parents inside the house and didn't try to assist them out of there before driving away to call emergency personnel?!

    April 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. George

    The family should sue the bug spray company.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Fidel Castro


    They paid for their idiocy.

    Good riddance to both of them.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bee That As It May

      Hey Fidel

      May the stingers of a thousand bees climb up your.......

      April 20, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marlin

      Why are you so filled with hate.

      This seems very trollish.

      April 20, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bee That As It May

    We do not own this planet.
    We just act like we do.
    Every once in a while, we get a reminder.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Fred Flamm

    MEXICAN BEES!!! RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 20, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Peter E

    Lesson: when in doubt, just call the professionals. Don't try to outsmart nature on your own. Especially when you know the danger and are physically fragile.
    You don't try to capture a rabid dog on your own either, do you?

    April 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Phil

    Proof that our elderly need to get more exercise in order to be more agile in times of unexpected adversity.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Limbaugh is a liberal

    They were killed by bees because God hates gays... Or some other crap the WBC tries to tell you...

    April 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ituri

    Terrible... just terrible... makes me cringe, going out by bee attack...

    A good lesson, even for the self sufficient. KNOW what you're doing BEFORE you do it. Never ever NEVER just spray a hive, its a great way to induce an all out militant response by the entire colony of bees. Know exactly what you're doing, take precautions, and if you don't have the proper gear CALL SOMEONE THAT DOES IT PROFESSIONALLY.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. El Presidente

    Somehow I feel the need to blame George Bush for thiis also.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
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