Valdosta Daily Times

August 5, 2013

Hahiran survives bee attack

Stepson: Stung 1,000 times

Terry Richards
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — A Hahira man survived being stung more than 1,000 times by bees, which then attacked EMTs who came to help Saturday, according to the man’s stepson.

Raymond Folsom, 77, a full-time farmer, was riding his tractor across his tree farm on Folsom Circle Road when one tire sank in a hole, tilting the tractor and causing the rotor to hit a pair of beekeeper’s hives 50 to 100 yards from the road, said his stepson, Mickey McMillan.

“He’s cut close (to the hives) before and they never bothered him,” McMillan said.

This time, the bees swarmed out and attacked Folsom, he said. His stepson said he jumped off the tractor, fell, tried to run and covered his mouth, winding up in the middle of the road.

“They were stinging him all over, leaving stingers all over the place,” he said. “He was fighting and losing.”

As his eyes started to swell, he tried to use his cellphone. He couldn’t see to dial, but managed to pull up a speed dial list and reached his son-in-law, McMillan said.

“He told his son-in-law ‘I’m covered in bees, they’re killing me, call 911,’ then hung up,” he said.

The son-in-law, B.J. Atkins, called 911, then rushed from his home 10 miles away to help his father-in-law, McMillan said.

When the ambulance crew arrived at Folsom’s house, his wife pointed out where he was in the middle of the road, McMillan said. The two EMTs rushed over to help, only to be attacked by the bees themselves, he said.

The EMTs got Folsom into the ambulance, and the bees swarmed over the vehicle, trapping them inside, McMillan said.

“(The EMTs) started scraping the stingers off him,” he said.

Folsom was taken to South Georgia Medical Center, where he was listed in good condition Sunday evening.

“He was lucid, joking around,” McMillan said. “His white bed sheets were covered with stingers.”

McMillan said SGMC staff told him Folsom was stung more times than anyone else they had treated who had survived.

Preliminary reports do not indicate that the EMTs were hurt, said Laura Love, community relations director for SGMC.

Staff with Drew Beekeepers Apiaries in Hahira went to the farm in protective suits to deal with the bees, McMillan said.

The bees belonged to someone else, but Folsom allowed them to be kept on his farm for pollination, McMillan said.