Dougherty Co. man killed by swarm of honeybees

A swarm of honeybees attacked 73-year-old Curtis Davis after his tractor hit a hive

A Dougherty County man is dead after hundreds of honeybees attacked him. Officials from the scene say 73-year-old Curtis Davis was cleaning up burning brush with his bulldozer tractor when it hit a beehive in the 1500 block of Williamsburg Road.

Emergency crews say they were called out because family members couldn't get past the 20,000 to 30,000 honeybees surrounding Davis. They say Curtis Davis had moved from the bulldozer and they found him yards away covered in honeybee stings. Davis later passed away Monday afternooon.

"We arrived, we found an individual that was down and he'd been stung by a large quantity of honeybees. We went in, put on our protective gear and when in and retrieved him," say Battalion Chief Marty Leverett with the Albany Fire Department.

The Albany Fire officials say they knew they needed to call for a different kind of back-up.

"We found an individual that could come and help us â" a beekeeper --- and he actually came and helped kill some of the bees so we could actually get back into the scene because he had a big brush pile he was burning," says Leverett.

Luckily, Beekeeper Dale Richter says he keeps an emergency bag with equipment, spray and beekeeper suit with him at all times.

"They had a fire is what they told me with bees that they could not get through to extinguish the fire. After I arrived I realized there was an individual involved," says Richter.

He says an average honeybee hive can hold 30,000 to 40,000 bees. Richter says the bees were very agitated at Davis' house, and the bulldozer noise wasn't helping.

"The first thing I wanted to do was get it turned off because it was creating a noise to annoy the honeybees," says Richter.

After that he says he found bees in the tractor and an original hive in Davis' porch column.

"After the gentleman passed away I was asked to go back out and take picture of the actual hive that I found for the coroner," says Richter.

Albany Fire Officials say they've never seen an incident like this.

"This is just so rare. It's a first for me in 28 years. So it's pretty rare," says Leverett.