Bee attack

A large beehive in the tree next to which a man was attacked Wednesday on South William Street.

Jarrod Lagrone, owner and operator of Tier 1 Expert Pest Elimination, tries to relocate hives of bees whenever he can. But sometimes, he said, the risk isn’t worth it.

When Mario Salinas Sr. died June 16 after he was stung by multiple bees outside his home in Inez, Lagrone offered to help the grieving family by exterminating the hive free of charge.

“Typically when it comes to bees, I do prefer to do removal as opposed to elimination,” Lagrone said.

But, Lagrone said, after a fatal attack, he usually opts for extermination. In this case, the Salinas family had been unable to live at home while the aggressive hive remained outside.

About two weeks after Salinas died, a Yoakum man died after he was also swarmed by bees while mowing a lawn near some abandoned homes.

The recent deaths have brought new attention to the danger the simple honeybee can pose.

In the U.S., more people are killed by bees and wasps than during encounters with any other animal, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts estimate between 60 and 100 people die every year because of bees, wasps and hornets, although that number could be higher.

Although two deaths in the region within weeks of each other is alarming, current data shows that bee deaths over time have been steady and that there has been no increase in the number of people who die after encounters with bees.

Swarms of bees are also a concern because even those who aren’t allergic can die after a bee attack if they’re stung by enough insects. Pharmaceutical experts estimate the average human can safely tolerate 10 stings for each pound of body weight. A person who is allergic to bee venom, however, could die if they’re stung by just one bee and aren’t given immediate treatment.

Ciara McCarthy covers local health issues for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. You can reach her at cmccarthy@vicad.com or at 580-6597 or on Twitter at @mccarthy_ciara.

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Health Reporter

Ciara McCarthy covers local government for the Advocate as a Report for America corps member. You can contact her by emailing cmccarthy@vicad.com.

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