According to the story, last Friday, an Arizona man was climbing a rock face on Camelback Mountain near Phoenix, where he stumbled across a hive of Africanized Honeybees, also known in popular culture as “killer bees”. The easily agitated insects didn’t take to kindly to their intruder, and decided to attack the man, who was hundreds of feet off the ground at the time. With no place to go, the 50 year old climber made his way to a rock ledge, where he became stranded, even as the bees continued their onslaught. By the time a rescue team came to get him, he had been stung more than 120 times.
As the article notes, Africanized Honeybees are the result of European bees being cross bred with a species from Southern Africa. The results are a highly aggressive hybrid that are easily provoked and will attack repeatedly. They can inject as much as .1 mg of venom with each sting, and tend to overwhelm their prey with their numbers. The bees were accidently set free from a lab in Brazil back in the 1950’s, and they have been slowly making their way across the warmer climes of both North and South America ever since.
Fortunately, this climber survived his encounter. Supposedly it takes roughly 500 stings from these bees to actually kill an adult. Still, I wouldn’t want to mess with them, and the last place I would ever want to encounter them is on the side of a mountain.