Port St. Lucie man attacked by bees

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL (WFLX)  Residents in one Port St. Lucie neighborhood have been afraid to go in their own yards after one of their neighbors was attacked by a swarm of bees. Lewis Peters remains in a medically-induced coma at Martin Memorial after he was stung dozens of times. Now, the city of Port St. Lucie is taking steps to make sure these bees don't strike again.

Lewis Peters was working in his backyard near S.E. Wiltshire Terrace when he was attacked by bees; however, since the bees were on private property and city officials could not reach the owners, they said they were powerless to remove them.

The aggressive bees were swarming just a few feet away from Lewis Peters' backyard.

"The fact that Lewis wasn't closer than the telephone pole, they had to be some kind of aggressive bees," said Peters' father, Lewis Peters Sr. He expects his son, who is 58, to remain in the hospital for at least two more weeks.

"We think he was stung so bad his blood pressure went up, which then caused a stroke," he said.

As Peters recovers, his neighbors are feeling better. Friday, Port St. Lucie commissioner Jack Kelly measured the area near the hive and discovered the hive is within the right of way and within the city's right to wipe it out.

That was welcome news for Eileen Wiechy who lives in the neighborhood.

"It's at the point where it's endangering someone and putting them into a coma," she said.

Wiechy watched as exterminators killed the bees in the tree and a hive we told them about that was even closer to her home. She pushed for the city to remove the bees. Her mother's allergic to them. You'd think she'd be afraid of them, but she was the one who spotted Peters on the ground and ran to help.

"He was very scared. He was foaming from his mouth and he was bitten from his feet to his head," she said.

It's not clear what kind of bees stung Peters. The Florida Department of Agriculture says until the bees are studied under a microscope it's impossible to tell if they're the deadly Africanized honey bees or another dangerous strain of bees. Experts say people need to treat every bee swarm as potentially deadly.

Even though the tree containing the hive has been fumigated to destroy the bees, the city will remove the tree tomorrow. Several bee specimens will be sent to the Florida Department of Agriculture.