Three teenage girls recover after bee attack

TYLER (KLTV) - Shawn Markmann, Director of Tyler Animal Control, doesn't typically handle bee calls, but he came out this morning to see if there was anything he could do.

"We just want people to be aware of what's going on. We contacted the closest school, we let them know what's going on," said Markmann. "Their staff is vigilant they are watching out for anything."

They came and walked along the creek bed where it was first reported the incident happened searching for bees thought to be Africanized Killer Honeybees. But after finding nothing near the creek, Tyler Animal Control was pointed in the right direction to a bamboo forest right in the middle of town.

"Looks like they just stepped right on top of where they were and disturbed the heck out of them," said Markmann.

After taking pictures and examining the bees, Markmann determined they weren't what they thought

"That's not a honeybee. That's a bumble bee," said Markmann.

Regardless of their type, he warns any bees are easily agitated and says to be careful.

"Bees can be aggressive. Caution should be used around any type of bee activity. I would tell people to leave them alone and call someone that can handle the problem."

Tyler Animal Control also said if you have bees on your property and want them removed, you can call some exterminators or a bee group.

A bamboo forest is what enticed the three best friends, 8th graders at Moore Middle School, to go exploring. An adventure that left Brandi Shelton with 110 stings.

"They were just chasing us, biting us, they wouldn't let go," said Brandi. "I turned around, looked behind me and there is a big swarm of them coming towards me. So I ran into the woods."

Brandi's friends Samantha and M'lissa ran away in different directions, but Brandi tripped and the bees were on her.

"They were in my hair, and on my shirt, and some of them were following me," said Brandi.

Meanwhile, some of the bees had followed M'lissa.

"They came after my eye and as I was running I swapped them off of my eye, they had got caught in my head. And I couldn't get them out. They kept stinging me over and over and over," said M'lissa Whitley. "They kept chasing me around different neighborhoods, just all over the place."

Finally she ended up at home, out of breath, and unable to see out of her eye.

"Whenever I got to my yard I literally just collapsed there," said M'lissa.

And as for Brandi:

"While they were outside, my wife had come home from work I was giving our bunny rabbit a bath and I came up the hall and my wife said, 'The girls are screaming, the girls are screaming,'" said Larry Shelton, Brandi's Dad. "I saw my daughter running across the street, just swinging her arms and yelling, 'Daddy! Daddy! Mommy! Mommy! Help me, help me!' I met her at the door and I noticed she was covered with bees. Only thing that I knew to do was to rip off my shirt and just try to get them off of her."

But the efforts of Brandi's father weren't helping, and something even scarier started going through his mind.

"I couldn't get them off of her. Then finally when it was like, 'Oh my gosh, she could die from this!'" Larry said. "I just put the emergency flashers on and took off. Running red lights, honking horns. I was a paramedic for 12 years."

At the hospital, all 3 girls were medicated and observed for 4 hours.

"They just kept coming, they didn't give up," said Larry.

The girls and their families want their story to be a lesson.

"If you're outside, be careful. You never know when something like this might happen," said Larry.

Danielle Capper, Reporting.