A large swarm of bees stung an employee of a tree removal business multiple times as he and three others began cutting down a large cottonwood near downtown Las Cruces. The 52-year-old man was stung possibly hundreds of times and was found, unconscious, by Las Cruces firefighters who arrived shortly before noon today at The Alameda House at 526 S. Alameda Boulevard. Firefighters used foam and water to scatter the bees that were covering the man who was found lying on a driveway.
The man was treated at the scene and then rushed to Mountain View Regional Medical Center where he is in serious but stable condition.
Two other employees of the tree-removal business were also stung by bees. One of the men, age 30, was transported to Memorial Medical Center but has since been released. A third victim was treated at the scene.
Fire and police officials learned that employees with a tree removal business, Las Cruces Heights, were beginning to cut limbs off an old cottonwood on the southwest corner of The Alameda House property. The 52-year-old man was scaling the tree and was suspended by a belay line when the bees started swarming. His coworkers lowered the man to the ground and called for help.
Entomologists from the city and county are assessing how best to eradicate the bee colony that is believed to be living inside the large cottonwood.
Police and firefighters strongly suggest that residents avoid foot traffic in the area of Alameda Boulevard and Miranda Street, between Lohman Avenue and El Molino Boulevard. Residents of that area also are encouraged to bring pets indoors until at least sunset when the bees are expected to return to their hive.