CLEVELAND, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – An 81-year-old man from Liberty County, located just northeast of Houston, is still recovering aftering being stung about 1,000 times by a swarm of bees. Thomas Mizell was at his farm alone, with no phone on him, when the attack took place.

“He farms from dusk ’til dawn,” said Tresha Holt, the man’s daughter. “He was clearing out the land for a fence line and, all of a sudden, he didn’t know where they came from, the bees just attacked him.” All that Mizell could do was attempt to run away, but it only took seconds before the bees started stinging.

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“I couldn’t see, hardly,” Mizell recalled to KRIV-TV in Houston. “The bees had done got in my eyes and ears.”

“We know bees,” Holt added, “but these bees aren’t like the bees we know.”

Mizell ran as fast as he could to a pond that he had made several years ago — about 200 yards away. “Came right through here, stumbling and falling and fighting them things, and I jumped in,” Mizell said. “When I got out of the pond, here come my wife and my son right there, 30 minutes early to pick me up.”

Mizell’s wife and son had made lunch plans together, but something told his wife to leave early. “That day, it was something gnawing at me. It wasn’t just right,” she told KRIV-TV. “It was him in the pond, trying to get out, and the bees was covered all over.”

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“It was so painful,” Mizell said. “I just thought that this was it.”

Thomas Mizell

(credit: KRIV-TV)

Mizell was rushed to the nearest hospital, located in the Liberty County city of Cleveland. Once they arrived, nurses started to remove stingers from Mizell’s body. They also removed full bees from his nose and ears. It was estimated that Mizell had suffered about 1,000 stings. “He had over 135 stings in his head alone,” said Holt.

If his family had not arrived when they did, doctors said, Mizell may not have survived. “It’s a miracle,” Holt said.

Mizell was released from the hospital on his 81st birthday, after a single-night stay. “People need to be aware of these killer bees because, number one is, they can kill you like they got me. But God was with me,” Mizell explained to KRIV-TV. “God spared my life and I’m thankful.”

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One of the bees that stung Mizell is now being sent away to be analyzed and classified.