Wife of man killed in bee attack thanks first responders; bee handler explains what happened


Breckenridge, TEXAS (BigCountryHomepage) – A 70-year-old man was killed after a massive bee attack in Stephens County.

Thomas Hicks, 70, was pronounced dead at the scene. According to the Breckenridge Fire Department, Hicks was severely stung and went into cardiac arrest.

Hicks’ wife Zoni said she had just left to shop for groceries when her husband began to mow the yard.

“I said, ‘honey, please don’t go back in the back area, because those bees are back there,’ and he said, ‘I won’t, I promise,'” Zoni said.

She returned to find him jumping screaming and covered in a swarm of bees.

“He was covered in like. I mean you couldn’t even see his back and his whole head he was just covered in killer bees,” Zoni said.

Joey Venecamp is a local Bee handler that removed the hive from the Hick’s property. He said this swarm mentality is typical in an established hive.

“Once one of them stings it’s going to let off a pheromone and that’s like a red flag to the other ones…best thing to do is take cover,” Venecamp said.

The hive had been in a hollowed out dead tree behind the Hicks’ shed. Venecamp said it was about 2 years old and was at a bit of a crossroads with a battle for the queen raging inside. This made these formerly docile bees aggressive.

“This particular hive yesterday had about it had about 4 or 5 queen cells in there,” Venecamp said.

Zoni frantically called 911 just before her husband collapsed in their home.

“I had to do CPR until they got here. and when they got here they worked on him for over an hour and they realized that they couldn’t bring him back so I had to let him go”

Medics and firefighters entered the home through a swarm of bees and started emergency treatment of the person stung.

Zoni said she’s extremely thankful for all the help they got from first responders. She said even if they were not able to bring her husband back, they did everything they could.

Zoni was released from the hospital after being stung multiple times.


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