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Police: Beekeeper electrocuted while removing a bee hive

August 27, 2021 GMT

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A 54-year-old man who had been a beekeeper since he was 8 was electrocuted while attempting to remove a beehive at a home in St. Petersburg, officials said.

Jeffrey Johnston and another person went to the home of a fellow churchmember on Wednesday, and used a bucket lift to get the hive. Johnston touched an electrical wire, and was pronounced dead at the scene, St. Petersburg police said.

In a 2018 interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Johnston said he averaged about 700 bee removals a year.

“It was who he was, Jeffrey the bee guy,” his 25-year-old son Jerick Johnston, told the newspaper. “He probably answered his phone like that.”

He said his father could talk to strangers for hours about the social behaviors of bees, and he loved to watch documentaries about bees. If the church needed a beehive removed, they called Jeffrey Johnston, his son said.

His dad owned two bee yards, with about 15 hives at each one, Jerick Johnston said.

Police said they believe the death was an accident.