After a string of bee attacks in the Carlton area, Chief Billy Hollingsworth of the Carlton Volunteer Fire Department decided it was time to get some real protection for himself and his volunteers.

Suits designed to handle Africanized bees just recently arrived from Brazil, Hollingsworth said.

Just last week the new suits were put to use at the Davis Ranch near Olin.

Hollingsworth said a call was received that bees were attacking a horse. When crews arrived, firefighters discovered the bees in an underground water meter box and said when the horse walked by the hive the bees attacked.

“Africanized bees are very aggressive,” Hollingsworth said. “They are the same size and color as European bees. The only way to tell the difference is by looking at the stinger under a microscope. Honeybees only try to protect their hive and they will hit you a few times and will not sting if you leave quickly. Africanized bees will sting you on the first hit and will not stop. After the first sting a scent is put off that tells the other bees to sting and they do - hundreds of times - if you can’t get away. They will chase you for miles and you can’t out run them.”

Hollingsworth said the best thing to do if under attack is to get in a place like a house or a vehicle where the bees can’t get to you.

Hollingsworth said just 17 stings can put an individual at high risk of shock and swelling so a trip to the emergency room is called for and it may be safer to call 911 for help.

“There is only one company that I know of that will come out and remove or kill the bees and that is Phil’s Pest Control in Stephenville,” Hollingsworth said.

Hollingsworth said the $95 charge is well worth it.

Hollingsworth said the suits were bought with donations to the department.

“I’m really glad we have them to help you when needed,” Hollingsworth said.