The woman, who was identified by the Orange County Fire Authority as Maria, was stung about 200 times by the bees while working a cleaning job at a home.
The firefighters explained exactly what happened on Twitter Monday, saying they were informed of bee stings and were expecting a minor situation.
When they arrived, they saw a swarm of bees surrounding one woman who was around 50 years old. According to CNN, the woman was lying on the ground and screaming by this time.
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Captain Anthony Bommarito of the fire unit told the news outlet that getting the bees off was difficult. There wasn’t enough protective gear, so they tried using a fire extinguisher but it didn’t work too well.
Eventually, they had to pick the woman up and carry her away from the swarm.
“She was conscious, but unaware. She was stoic — not so much in physical shock, but emotional shock,” Bommarito said.
Two firefighters were also injured by the bees as they tried to rescue the woman, and were briefly admitted to hospital.
Bee experts were then called to the scene, and a large beehive carrying thousands of the bugs was removed.
The woman’s son told firefighters hours after the incident that his mom is now in stable condition.
The close call wasn’t the first time “killer bees,” which are also known as Africanized bees, have attacked humans.
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The bees were first brought to Brazil in the 1950s in an effort to increase the country’s honey supply, but they soon made their way north, Smithsonian’s website explains.
Now, they’re present in several Southern U.S. states.
“Since their introduction into Brazil, they have killed some 1,000 humans, with victims receiving ten times as many stings than from the European strain,” according to Smithsonian.
They are much more aggressive than European Honey Bees.
While Africanized bees are expected to continue moving north into the U.S., they don’t survive in cold weather.