Tucson woman fighting for life after hundreds of bees attack

Published: May. 10, 2021 at 5:29 PM MST|Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 5:51 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Tucson woman is fighting for her life after she was stung by hundreds of Africanized bees.

Yvonne Martinez’s family said nurses had to remove nearly 500 stingers after a swarm attacked the 65-year-old on April 30.

“There were up to 500 stingers in her,” said her husband Jerry Nassif. “She swelled up and has been intubated ever since.”

Ten days later, she’s still hospitalized and on a ventilator.

Africanized bees are known for being more aggressive than the North American honey bee.

“They will attack anything that appears to cause any problem to their hives or to them in general,” said Bill Welch, a member of the Southern Arizona Beekeepers Association.

Welch recommends getting indoors as soon as possible if you see a hive or swarm.

“They can fly 10 to 15 miles per hour so you cannot outrun them,” he said.

Health experts warn multiple stings can cause a person’s blood pressure to drop and organ injury. Nassif said his wife was overcoming health problems prior to the attack.

“She gets tired really quick so who knows what kind of shape she’ll be in,” he said.

She is a stroke survivor and doesn’t have much mobility of her right side.

“Hopefully they’ll have some success, but then she’s gonna need a lot of care when she gets out,” Nassif said.

He said she’s always acted as his caregiver and now he expects they’ll both be needing help.

Martinez’s family started a GoFundMe drive to help with the cost of medical care. You can donate by going to

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