Bee Venom Killed Tucson Climber

Cause of death confirmed for man and his dog

    Photo: sergey23 via Shutterstock

The mystery has been solved in the death of a Tucson rock climber who was found on Mount Hopkins Monday, hanging from his rappelling gear and covered in hundreds of bee stings. A medical examiner confirmed Thursday that both Steven Johnson and his dog were killed as a result of “mass envenomation,” according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Johnson, who was an experienced climber, appears to have rappelled about halfway down a cliff to scope out a new route before his rope disturbed a beehive just a few feet away. 

Arizona sees its fair share of bee attacks every summer, and residents must sometimes deal with particularly aggressive swarms. Still, deaths from these attacks are uncommon since it can take anywhere from 500 to 1000 bee stings to kill a human.

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