Lance Davis, owner of Lance Davis Killer Bee Live Removal in Palm Desert, said 75,000 to 80,000 Africanized honey bees found in an underground Verizon vault first stung a Verizon employee who opened the vault Thursday then turned on the woman who was nearby, the (Riverside) Press-Enterprise reported.
"You couldn't see her," Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mark Williams, the incident commander, told the newspaper.
"They're quick to anger, and they are relentless in their attack," said Davis, who removed the bees. "If it takes the whole hive to protect against an intruder, or someone perceived to be an intruder, they will do it."
Five Cal Fire firefighters -- three who helped the woman and two who tried to keep others away from the scene -- were hospitalized after being stung, the Press-Enterprise reported. Williams said all were back on duty.
The Press-Enterprise said Davis removed the bees and took them to his hive in Thermal.