Breckenridge Texan

Stephens County man dies after bees attack him while he was mowing lawn

Stephens County man dies after bees attack him while he was mowing lawn
April 26
21:38 2021

By Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

A Stephens County man died Monday afternoon, April 26, when he was attacked by bees while mowing his grass on Water District Road 214, just west of the Hubbard Creek Lake bridge, according to local officials.

According to officials, Tom Hicks, 70, was mowing his grass and mowed near a hive that was in a tree stump. The noise from the mower caused the bees to become agitated and they attacked the man.

“When the firefighters arrived, the scene was very active, bees were everywhere,” Breckenridge Fire Chief Calvin Chaney said. “The firefighters suited up in their gear, and that protects us pretty well.”

The firefighters assisted the medics in performing CPR on the man inside his house after he had gone into cardiac arrest. “I think there were a lot of factors that played into that, and it wasn’t a positive outcome,” he said.

His wife, Zoni Hicks, was also stung by bees and was transported to Stephens Memorial Hospital, where she was  treated and released.

The Stephens County Sheriff’s department, AMR ambulance service, the Breckenridge Fire Department and Justice of the Peace Steve Spoon responded to the home.

Spoon pronounced the man deceased at the scene.

Roach said several of the emergency workers were also stung by the bees but he did not believe any of them were severely injured.

To help calm the bees down, Roach said, deputies and the fire department blocked the road to traffic and then went door-to-door in the neighborhood, alerting people about the situation and letting them know not to be outside mowing and to stay in their homes to stay safe. He also said the Breckenridge Police Department issued a Code Red warning in the area about the situation.

The school district was advised not to drive the school bus down the road until the bees had been dealt with, Chaney said.

Chaney contacted local beekeepers, and Joey Venekamp offered to assist with the situation. Venekamp helped the firefighters locate the hive and come up with a plan of action.

The hive was found in an old tree stump that was almost level to the ground. The homeowner likely unknowingly mowed close to the hive and the noise from the mower agitated the bees, Chaney said.

“They were just very aggressive,” he said.

Chaney said the hive was destroyed and Venekamp removed it from the scene.

Although there may still be some bees flying around in the area, they won’t be staying at that location because the hive is gone, Chaney said.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated at 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 28, 2021, to include the name of the man who died in the incident and his wife.

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