bee hive

This bee hive swarmed, attacked and killed a Soda Springs man in June.

MILLSAP – A 65-year-old Soda Springs man died Sunday afternoon after he was reportedly attacked by bees while mowing.

Neighbor Dorlinda Ingersoll said fellow neighbor Harry Dee Daugherty, who lived with his wife on River View Road along the Brazos River north of Interstate 20, was on a riding lawnmower cutting grass on the property of a deceased neighbor on Meadow View Road when a swarm of bees attacked him.

Ingersoll said Daugherty had passed by an old outbuilding, where the hive was apparently located.

Precinct 5 Constable Gary Morris, who was assisting with hive removal Monday afternoon, confirmed the attack. He said Daugherty reportedly turned the corner on the east side of the building, where the hive is located under the outbuilding's eaves, when the bees swarmed.

Daugherty then reportedly rode about 30 feet on his mower as the bees swarmed before he abandoned the mower and ran to his home where 911 was called, Morris said.

Morris said Daugherty reportedly died en route to the Weatherford Regional Medical Center.

Daugherty was pronounced dead at 4:44 p.m. Sunday at the medical center. His body was taken to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office, where an official ruling on the cause and manner of death was pending as of Monday morning.

Morris said it wasn't currently known how many times Daugherty was stung.

The medical examiner will examine bees collected from the site to help determine the cause of Daugherty's death, Morris said.

"A few years ago I was mowing and I saw what I thought was a dirt devil coming at me, but it was a tornado of bees," Ingersoll said, adding she was not stung during that incident.

Living two lots from the property where Sunday's incident happened, Ingersoll said she did not witness it.

Palo Pinto County Extension Agent Scott Mauney said the state no longer tests bees to determine if they are native or the more aggressive Africanized variety of bees.

"We quit testing because we know they are here," Mauney said.

He said whether Africanized or native bees, a hive can swarm if disturbed.

"Vibration and noise really affects bees," Mauney said, referring to equipment like lawnmowers.

"We are seeing our bees being a little more aggressive and we are not really sure why," Mauney added.

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