Local man loses life in fatal bee attack

As summertime heats up, bees seem to get more aggressive, and a horrible bee attack this past May is a solemn reminder about just how dangerous bees can be. Mr. Merrill Potter was doing yard work/ mowing outside his home when he was attacked by bees. Sadly, he lost his life.
Potter was sadly stung over 1,100 times, and when fire crews arrived they found bees inside and outside the home. The home is located on CR 6710 near the intersection of CR 5716 northwest of Lytle.
Our prayers are with the family of all involved in this horrible accident.
Previous incidents
Bee attacks seem to be happening more and more often. This past August 2018, three men were also attacked while they were doing yard work/mowing, cleaning up field near Devine when they were viciously attacked by bees. In that attack, Hector Vasquez, was stung 400-500 times and airlifted to University Hospital. Two other men who were there in the field with him were also stung, one of them a couple hundred times. The attack happened on a property along County Road 674 between Roy’s Beverage Barn and the old Rancho Grande store.
There was another vicious bee attack on Hayden Street in Devine last October 2018, during which a man was hospitalized after being stung over 300 times.
An insight on Africanized bees
Eddie Geyer, of Geyer Farms, has been working with honey bees for some 28 years, and gave some insight into the mean Africanized Honey Bee, often the culprit of vicious attacks like these.
“I run into Africanized bees about 2-3 times a year,” Geyer said. “You cannot tell the difference between the Africanized bees and regular Honey Bees by looking at them, but I would say they probably were the Africanized bees if they stung someone that many times. Africanized bees are really hot, and when I say really hot, I mean really mean.”
Geyer explains, “All bees have a temper, but you might get stung 20-30 times by a regular European bee, but they aren’t gonna chase you a quarter mile and sting you 400 times. Back when A&M was sampling them, they had to look at them under a microscope to count the number of veins on their wings. That is the only way to tell the difference. So, if you wanted to know for sure what kind of bee it is, the only way to really tell is to send a sample to A&M.”
Geyer shared a little more about the breed of mean bees which started becoming a problem here in the US during the mid-late 80’s.
“Researchers brought bees from Africa to South America/Brazil,” Geyer said. “What they were doing was trying to produce a ‘Super Bee.’ These Africanized Honey Bees were bred for their genetics. However, the bees got loose before researchers were done perfecting the bees. They are great producers of honey, but are too aggressive. They came up through Mexico and we just couldn’t stop them. So here we are.”
“Another tell-tell sign to look for is their brood pattern. If you look at the honeycomb and there’s an egg inside every hole, it’s probably Africanized bees. I always kill the queen if I see aggressive bees with a really pretty brood pattern like that. You can use soap and water to kill bees, but you have to make sure you have A LOT of water. It does work, but soap and water will only kill what it touches, so I always use some Seven Dust which kills them when they walk across it, and they also feed it to each other.”