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San Marcos church volunteer stung hundreds of times in bee attack

San Marcos church volunteer stung hundreds of times in bee attack
Posted at 5:35 PM, Apr 29, 2024

SAN MARCOS, Calif. (KGTV) — A North County church volunteer recounted his terrifying and painful encounter with a large swarm of bees.

“I had 13 stings along one part of my right eye. There is one still embedded in there,” said Paul Lorson. “Both my hands are still swollen.”

For Lorson, the reminders are all over his body, of an afternoon turned nightmare.

It took place behind San Marcos United Methodist Church.

Last Monday, the 68-year-old church volunteer was there, riding his tractor and knocking down brush to pave the way for a community garden, when the tractor struck some old piping.

“The whole area went quiet. Then I heard a really, really loud sound. Then I saw what looked like wave after wave after wave of bees,” said Lorson.

Lorson jumped off the tractor as the bees swamped his body.

“I was fearing for my life,” said Lorson. “You'd wipe the bees away, and before I could get my hands back, the bees were back on my face.”

Lorson says he just started running across the back parking lot for more than 50 yards to the side of the church.

It was there that Lorson, who didn't have his phone, saw a 12-year-old boy and yelled at him to call 911, which the boy quickly did.

“There’s no question in my mind, I think he saved my life. If there was more delay, who knows how many more stings would have killed me,” said an emotional Lorson. “To me, the kid is a hero.”

Still covered with bees, Lorson waited less than ten minutes before fire crews and paramedics came to his aid.

“At last count, I had over 120 stings. I know it’s much more than that because of the number of stingers still- I’m still pulling out of myself,” said Lorson.

Lorson was hospitalized for four days, suffering several complications which could have been life-threatening.

“Doctors said I had a massive amount of venom,” said Lorson.

Three hives were discovered and removed from the church. Two of them were in the old pipes.

The owner of AA Beekeeper, the company that removed the bees, believes the bees were a hybrid, less aggressive version of Africanized bees.

Jeffrey Lutz, the owner of Bee Best Bee Removal, says the swarming season — delayed because of the cold, rainy winter — started to get active a few weeks ago. He suggests thoroughly inspecting any area before using a weed whacker or lawn mower.