PHOENIX — Three people were injured, one critically, by a swarm of bees at a Phoenix motel on Wednesday, authorities said.
The bees attacked in the lobby of a Quality Inn at about 3:30 p.m. local time, and police arrived to find the three victims stung multiple times, KTVK reported.
One victim, a 37-year-old man, was taken to an area hospital in critical condition, the television station reported. The other victims suffered minor injuries.
One victim, identified only as Eric, told KSAZ that he and the other two victims were sitting in the parking lot of the motel when the bees attacked.
“All we heard was ‘buzz,’ and we were like, ‘What is that?’” Eric told the television station. “All the bees came, so I said, ‘Let’s split up.’ We split up and I ran, and I went this way in the middle of the street, and the cars were like, ‘Honk honk,’ and I was like ‘Ehh, man.’”
While Eric said he was stung on his arms, face and head, his friend was “covered” in stings.
“They swarmed on him, covered him,” Eric told KSAZ. “Covered his whole face and neck, and the back of his neck, his head. It was like they just flew on him and stuck on him, and I took my beanie off (to) try to hit it, took my shirt off, try to hit it.”
Phoenix fire officials say it is unclear what disturbed the bees or caused them to become aggressive, KTVK reported.
Dan Punch, who owns Punch Honey Bee Company, told the television station that this is the time of year when bees are on the move to create new hives.
“It can seem very chaotic when they’re moving and the queen, well, she’s heavy and she doesn’t fly very much so she gets tired and she’ll land on a branch or something like that and all the bees will kind of do this and it will seem pretty chaotic and once they realize where she is, they will all kind of gather in one group and eventually turn into a ball of bees,” Punch told KTVK. “If you feel like you’re under attack by bees, the best thing to do is go inside some place -- whether that’s inside of a car or into a building--go some place where you can turn on an air conditioner, the bees don’t like it cold and if they’re on you, they will immediately go to the windows of the car or if you’re inside where it’s dark, they don’t see in the dark and they will fly to the windows or to a light fixture and get off of you.”