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College student attacked by swarm of bees while running in North County

Posted at 6:10 PM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 21:11:42-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A San Diego college student out for a run was attacked by a swarm of bees — stung at least a hundred times — in the North County.

Jaeyoung Choi tells ABC 10News anchor Lindsey Pena that he was running on a bike path near SR-56 and Carmel Valley Road on Aug. 4, when he started noticing the bees.

"Next thing I know, a couple bees are hitting me thought it was no big deal and then there were a lot more bees and then a lot more bees and then all of a sudden I'm getting swarmed," Choi said.

During the attack, Choi said he saw a man in a beekeeper outfit and tried to get help from him, though he was unsuccessful.

"Did not speak any English at all the beekeeper so I couldn't get the guys info or even know if he's licensed or not, just one guy there, just really weird," Choi said.

Eventually, a cyclist came across Choi and called 911, and Choi was rushed to Scripps Memorial Hospital. There, he learned he had been stung more than 100 times.

"At the hospital, they pulled out around 150 stingers or so basically swelled up to a balloon," said Choi.

Choi says a week since the attack, his body is still reacting and breaking out in hives. He's also still dealing with the medical bills from the incident.

"I just can't imagine if it were somebody younger or a lot older I definitely think they would've left in a body bag," Choi said.

James McDonald, a professional beekeeper and owns Encinitas Bee Company, said based on the bees' behaviors, he believes they were a form of Africanized "Killer Bees," adding that San Diego is home to plenty of them.

"They're called 'killer bees' for a reason, they kill people," McDonald said. "This was a random amateur who thought he was getting free bees and my hope would be someone sees the report and knows who this guy is."

Anyone who may have information on the unknown beekeeper is asked to call Encinitas Bee Company at 858-750-5438.