IMPERIAL, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- Ruth Hobbs said a swarm of yellow jackets stung her husband to death at their Imperial home in Jefferson County.
Hobbs said her husband, Joe, was mowing the backyard at their home in July. He was mowing near Styrofoam he and his sons put out two years earlier for target practice.
“They stacked about five or six sheets and used it to shoot their bow and arrows into for deer season," said Ruth.
Inside the Styrofoam were large yellow jacket nests. Ruth said while her husband was mowing, the wasps repeatedly stung him.
“Joe told us he had to get in the house to take a shower because they were all over him and as soon as he got to my front door is when he had trouble breathing," said Ruth. “He had been cutting the grass all summer. I don’t understand what happened.”
Ruth said she rushed Joe to the hospital where medical records show paramedics gave Joe multiple doses of Epinephrine and Benadryl, but it was too late. She said he died with 10 minutes.
“They called it anaphylaxis shock. That’s what he went into," said Ruth. “I don’t want to have this happen again. This is why I warn people."
Dr. Fred Buckhold with SLU Hospital said deadly wasp attacks are rare. If you're allergic, it can only take one bite to be deadly.
“With anaphylaxis, you’re looking at an hour tops --that’s how much time you have. With this guy it was 10 minutes. It shows you how quick this is. It’s fatal and fast," Buckhold said.
Buckhold said call 911 if you believe you are having an allergic reaction. In some cases, an EPI pen could also save your life.
Ruth said she was told that given how many times Joe was stung, an EPI pen would not have helped.
The St. Louis County and St. Charles County Health Departments told News 4 they don't track wasp or bee attacks, even deadly, because it is not considered a "reportable illness."