Tree trimmer attacked by Africanized bees released from hospital Sunday

8:00 AM, Aug 9, 2010   |    comments
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UPDATE: Bad luck continues for tree trimmer attacked by bees

Safety Harbor, Florida -- For the first time, a tree trimmer stung about 500 times by Africanized killer bees on Saturday described the attack.

He was working on a tree in the front yard of a home in Safety Harbor when he cut through a massive hive.

"This giant swarm just came directly at me.  It's like they knew who did it," Ralph St. Peter explained.

Photo Gallery: Man stung 500 times by Africanized bees

St. Peter's hands and face are still swollen. From head to toe, he's covered in bee stings.

"Fireants.  It would be the same as fireants," St. Peter said, also comparing his attack to someone sticking a needle in him repeatedly all over his body.

Hours after being released from the hospital, St. Peter's wife, Jenna, still had to pull out stingers.

"Kind of reminds me of a porcupine.  You're just pulling pins out of a pin cushion," she said.

St. Peter, a veteran tree trimmer of 30 years, says he knew there were honey bees in the tree, but not the Africanized type, let alone the estimated 50,000 that swarmed him.

"Fear, nothing but fear," he said when asked what he was thinking during the attack, "because I knew what they were.  They were definitely killer bees.  Regular bees don't do that."

St. Peter says he should have called an exterminator to remove the bees before starting the work.

He credits his co-workers, who helped him get down from the tree, with saving his life.

"I would have died.  They weren't stopping," St. Peter said.

On his first day back at work on Monday, he says he's going right for the same tree.

"The bees are obviously gone, so I'll finish the job tomorrow," he said.

Adam Freeman, 10 News

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