"It was like a thousand little knives poking me in my body," said Rodney Pugh, 41, who took off running after being surrounded by the bees.
"It was like bees all in the cab," Pugh told ABC Action News. "So I'm trying to swat, and they say never to swat bees. My ears were just throbbing with pain."
"It's the worst feeling, because you just had so many and they wouldn't stop," Pugh said.
Pugh and his partner, David Zeledon, both tried to escape, but ended up with nearly 100 stings each. Both men were hospitalized and treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories in case they had an adverse reaction to the stings. They are expected to recover fully.
Jonathan Simkins of Insect I.Q. was called out to exterminate the hive. He suspects the bees originally came from Africa or South America aboard a port ship, as the park is next to Port Tampa.
"This pile of rubbish wasn't moved for three years. So this colony's been breeding and sending out colonies," said Simkins, adding that it won't be the area's last encounter with killer bees.
Africanized bees look just like regular honeybees, but are extremely aggressive and attack ruthlessly when disturbed. "The European bee will swarm once or twice a year. The African bee will swarm up to 17 times," Simkins said.