2 November 2023 (Thursday)


I was hoping to have written a post on Sunday.  We didn’t have anything on the schedule, but everything changed very quickly.  We were almost to the end of streaming our church service.  Some of the missionaries were driving their cattle into the pasture right by the house that we are staying in.  We were trying to keep the girls focused on the sermon when all of the cattle began to run back out.  We kept telling the girls to pay attention to the sermon and not to be distracted by the cattle.  Suddenly, one of the German Shepherds, Ginger, started rolling frantically in the flower bed right in front of our window.  Zabdi ran out to get her out of there and came running back into the house with a head full of bees.  We were able to kill those bees with only two stings on Zabdi.  Then we heard a motor revving, smelled rubber burning, and saw smoke rising.  We later found out one of the missionaries was trying to run off the bees with smoke.  Then suddenly, Bunny, the dark brown horse crashed into the fence in front of the bedroom window.  She was being swarmed by bees.  She soon collapsed.  A visiting missionary was in his van with the window cracked open and trying to spray bug spray to get the bees off her.  He then whipped her with his belt to get her to run.  She made it to the main gate and collapsed again.  Once we realized what was going on, I bundled up the best I could and went out to join the flight.  Eventually, with three people spraying aviation fuel and me with a can of Raid Max in each hand, we were able to approach Bunny enough to give her 2 Epipens and a dose of steroids.  The chemicals deterred the bees a bit, but they just kept coming.  They tried to load her on a trailer and tow her away with a tractor, but she died as soon as they got her on the trailer.

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Just when they were loading Bunny, we left to see the other horse named Sandy.  She was about 4 years old, pregnant, and due in December.  She had been attacked as well, but was able to run away.  We found her standing at the end of the runway.  Her face was littered with stingers.  On her body, it was hard to tell due to her sandy color.  She still had some bees on her.  She was standing up, but did not look good.  We took her to her little barn nearby.  She did not want to eat or even drink anything, presumably due to the pain.  We didn’t know anything about proper medicines or treatments other than some recommendations from some people who had had similar experiences.  Google did not help me much with this situation or even horse dosing of medications.  I was able to get some recommendations from a family of veterinarians in the U.S.  We gave her some treatment.  I kept checking back on her and she looked to be getting worse and worse.  At times, she was too weak to stand, but when she lay on her side, she couldn’t breathe well.  So she would try to sit up until she was too tired.  Her resting heart rate was fast.  I had to Google what a resting heart rate of a horse is and even where to listen to a horse’s heart.  Each time I went back, I expected to find her dead.  Then, when I went back alone in the pitch-black darkness at 9 o'clock, she was gone—not dead, just not there.  It was too dark to look for her.  I couldn’t believe that she had the strength to take off and it was too dark to go looking for her in an area with cliffs that I wasn’t that familiar with.  The next morning, as I was almost to the stable, I got a video text from one of the missionaries of Sandy standing in the stream.  When I caught up with them, she looked much better than I had thought she would, but still very uncomfortable.  She was wagging her head and was still very weak and sometimes going to her knees.  Since she looked like this was the best place for her at the time, we left her for a little bit.  However, when we returned, we were surprised to see that she had died.  I had to go back to tell the girls that she didn’t make it. 


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Sandy’s condition was a roller coaster ride.  She definitely fought to the end and perhaps even harder trying to save her baby inside.  We have no idea why the bees targeted the horses.  None of the cattle were injured.  And most thankfully none of the humans had any serious reactions to the bee stings they got.  I didn’t even get stung Sunday when we were battling the bees.  However, when I came back from finding Sandy, a bee came and stung me at the gate, just because.  They were still around the body of Bunny on the trailer a day after they had killed her.  When they took her away, we tried to sweep up the blood that had dripped from the trailer and they came buzzing us again.  We believe this type of bee is called Africanized Honey Bees (aka Killer Bees), which don’t have a more venomous sting than other bees, but are severely aggressive and as we had experienced just keep attacking.


Thank you to those who have been praying for safety for all.  We and many others will miss Bunny and Sandy.  But we are SO thankful that everyone else is OK.


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