(LOZANO, Texas) — A third-generation Texas farmer was killed by a bee attack after he disturbed an enormous hive.
Rogerio Zuniga was on his tractor in Lozano, Texas on Sunday when he hit an 18-inch diameter pipe enraging the bees inside.
The bees swarmed from the abandoned irrigation pipe and killed him, an official told ABC News on Wednesday.
“He jumped off the tractor and ran about 100 yards away from the swarm before he collapsed in the field,” said San Benito Fire Department Chief Raul R. Zuniga Jr., who is Rogerio’s cousin.
Rogerio’s family noticed the tractor was abandoned in the field and discovered his body, which was covered in bees, Raul said.
“He had gaping wounds, the bees shredded him basically. It was horrible,” Rogerio’s sister Lisa Zuniga told CBS affiliate KGBT-TV.
The fire department found 15 to 20 feet of honeycomb inside the pipe that Rogerio hit.
“We got help from the county and an exterminator, but we broke the concrete pipe to get into it. The thing was just filled with bees,” Raul said. “They were extremely aggressive, too. One of the guys on my team got stung through his veil.”
The process took about four hours to clean up as crews continued to be swarmed by the bees.
The exterminator noticed the bees swarming towards another location — where Rogerio’s mother lives — and found more honeycomb inside four tires.
“In our area bees have always been a problem, but not to this extent,” Raul said. “I was told the weather has been causing them to swarm and that most colonies are infected with Africanized bees that seem to be more aggressive.”
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