91-year-old attacked by bees while preparing cemetery for wife’s funeral

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HUTTO (KXAN) — A family mourning the loss of a loved one was attacked by a swarm of bees at the Hutto Lutheran Cemetery last week. 

“Do you know how hell feels,” said 91-year-old Victor Stern as he recalled the pain he felt from the bees attacking his body.  

Stern said the pain lingers on his body and in his heart. Stern lost his wife of 68 years last week. On July 4, the eve of the funeral, while preparing the cemetery, a swarm of bees attacked him and his family as they were landscaping the area. 

Stern, a member of the Hutto Lutheran Church, has voluntarily mowed the lawn of the cemetery for around 30 years. He was out servicing the area with this son, grandson and another member of the church when the bees unexpectedly attacked. 

“It was just total mayhem. There’s no way to describe it when something like that is all over you,” said Bill Stern, Victor’s son. 

“When you are already hurting, and you get hurt some more, it really hurts,” Victor Stern said. 

Victor Stern was hospitalized overnight with over 50 bee stings. A few days later, several hives are still buried deep within the fencing lining the perimeter of a section of the cemetery. The fire department has marked it off with caution tape. 

“Someone is going to get hurt if nothing is done. It’s just waiting to happen again,” Bill Stern said. 

While on County Road 135, Williamson County officials said they’ve mowed the area recently and haven’t had any issues. Katie Wegner, the vicar for the Hutto Lutheran Church, said it wasn’t an immediate concern for the administration, but said they are looking for solutions.

The family just hopes someone takes care of it soon. 

“I have to think the good Lord knows what he’s doing. He allowed it to happen. I don’t know why, but that’s the way the world is,” Stern said. 

What to do in a swarm of bees 

If you find yourself in a swarm of bees, Texas A&M Agri-Life has some suggestions:  

Run away and find shelter. Standing in place and swatting at bees gives them more time to recruit from the colony. 

If shelter is far away, run until you lose the bees. Some bees may follow you for a half mile or more before giving up. Don’t try to escape by jumping into water.  

Once you’re safe, remove the stingers ASAP. If left in the skin, the venom sac will continue to pump venom. And get medical attention if you believe you’re having an allergic reaction. 

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