Man dies after Father's Day bee attack

Mario Salinas Sr.

A hive of bees that fatally attacked a man earlier this month was eliminated by an exterminator Monday.

Mario Salinas Sr. died June 16 after he was attacked by numerous bees while mowing his lawn in Inez. His wife, Cecilia Cathcart Salinas, said she saw at least six dead bees after her husband ran back inside when he was stung, but she thinks he was stung by many more bees.

Jarrod Lagrone, owner and operator of Tier 1 Expert Pest Elimination, said he exterminated the beehive Monday. Lagrone offered his services to the family free of charge. He said he would return to check on the hive Wednesday to make sure the hive had been properly exterminated because many of the insects were out foraging when he fogged them Monday. Lagrone said he saw thousands of bees in the hive when he was there.

Lagrone said exterminating a hive is a last resort for him, but he decided in this case it would be the safest method because of the hive’s history and its location near the insulation of the Salinas’ double-wide trailer.

“Typically when it comes to bees I do prefer to do removal as opposed to elimination,” Lagrone said. “But in some instances, elimination is kind of required.”

Usually, Lagrone is able to relocate a hive and find a beekeeper or an apiary where the hive can be safely moved. To remove the hive in Inez on Monday, Lagrone said, he used insecticide to fog the hive as well as insecticide dust.

Lagrone said this is the first fatal attack in the area he’s heard of this year but added that he removed a hive from a Victoria woman’s backyard after one of her dogs died of a beesting. He usually relocates between 10 and 15 hives a year.

In all, more people were killed by bees and wasps between 2008 and 2015 than from any other lethal animal encounters in the U.S., according to a study published in Wilderness and Environmental Medicine last year. The report, which analyzed eight years of mortality data, found that of the 1,610 people killed in encounters with animals in that time frame, 478 were killed by hornets, wasps and bees. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows about 60 people are killed by bees, wasps and hornets each year. The total number of people killed by stings from venomous insects could be higher because of deaths wrongly attributed to heart attack or heat stroke instead of an insect sting.

Lagrone advised if residents see more than two bees in an area, there’s a good chance there’s a hive nearby.

“As is the case with any animal, try to maintain calm and slowly get out of the area” if you see bees, Lagrone said.

Experts advise calling a professional to remove a hive.

Franklin Cathcart, Salinas’ brother-in-law, said Salinas’ family hopes to return home after the hive is checked Wednesday and cut out from its location under the home.

Ciara McCarthy covers local government 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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