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Swarm of Bees Attacks Hikers in Joshua Tree Park

June 26, 2000|From Associated Press

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — A swarm of bees attacked a group of hikers in Joshua Tree National Park on Sunday, stinging one man more than 100 times and causing him to fall and break his leg as he sprinted for safety.

One of the man's companions was stung more than 50 times, and two others suffered about 25 stings each, said Joshua Tree National Park Ranger David Smith.

The four dove into their car after the 11 a.m. attack--with some bees still clinging to them--and drove to the High Desert Medical Center in nearby Joshua Tree. All were treated and released by Sunday evening, Smith said. He said he did not know their names or where they were from.

Smith said that until test results come back from Sacramento he won't know whether the bees were the infamous Africanized "killer bees," or just normal honeybees.

Although "killer bees" are notorious for their ferocious attacks, under the right circumstances regular honeybees also can swarm, Smith said.

"We're in the middle of a long drought right now and bees are seeking out new forms of moisture, and that's possibly what happened," he said.

The northwest portion of the park where the attack took place has been temporarily closed to visitors. The park is about 100 miles east of Los Angeles.

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