A landscaper who accidentally disturbed a hidden hive of Africanized honebees, a.k.a. "killer bees," as he was working in a yard in Arizona died after the bees attacked and stung him on Tuesday.
Other people on the property were injured, though to a lesser extent. An exterminator who came in later found a 6-foot by 4-foot hive in the attic, containing around 800,000 bees, that was thought to have been there for at least 10 years.
The landscaper's death was horrific and unusual -- but how exactly do these bees kill?
"These are extremely defensive and dominant bees," said Eric Mussen, extension apiculturist at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"Africanized honeybees are extremely sensitive to vibrations," Mussen explained. "If a lawnmower goes off several houses away from a colony, for example, the bees could still likely detect the vibrations and sting everyone in the area."
When disturbed, the killer bees have extra soldiers on duty to respond to alarms. The bees are slightly smaller than honeybees and have the same venom load per sting, but a defensive attack, such as the one that killed Goodwin, can be devastating.