Bees swarm, sting four tree trimmers in Fort Myers

Published: June 25, 2021 5:16 PM EDT
Updated: June 25, 2021 6:38 PM EDT

Four people have been injured due to being stung by bees. This happened early Friday afternoon in Fort Myers while tree trimmers were hard at work. Then, they came across the hive hiding inside a tree.

Beekeeper Marcelo Lang arrived on scene with a plan on how to get rid of the bees. To cut wholes in the tree, smoke out the bees, get the queen and transport the bees to Echo Farm.

However, before he arrived, Lang didn’t realize what kind of bees he was dealing with.

He happened to arrive after medics rushed four maintenance workers to the hospital. All of the men suffered multiple stings.

One of the men was stung “approximately a hundred times” according to a medic.

Lang thought the colony of bees who made a home out of the tree was still inside. It turns out that that colony was dead. And Robber Bees were overtaking the hive in hopes of stealing its honey.

“If you kill the bee they automatically release a pheromone and that’s when they attack people,” Lang said.

Despite the attack, the fire chief says, the four men are expected to be okay.

Joyce Fassbender is an Entomologist with FGCU. She says with a whole hive damaged, and Robber Bees present, those four workers unknowingly triggered the attack.

“If you have a lot of bees dying and a lot of fighting going on there’s going to be even more of that pheromone in the area they’ll become even more aggressive,” Fassbender said.

Luckily, those bees aren’t expected to be a problem in the area by tomorrow.

Lang says hives in trees are common in this area. He says to be on the lookout if you see any bees flying in and out of a tree before doing any sort of tree-trimming work.