Dad Hears 2-Year-Old Son Screaming Outside. Runs Over to Find Him Stung by More Than 20 Bees (Exclusive)
2023/11/10

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When Matt Krueger began to hear screams outside from his 2-year-old son, he never expected to come across the scary sight that he did.

Back in September, the dad of four shared a video on TikTok, that has since gone viral, documenting the moment his toddler son Ross was stung by nearly 20 bees in their backyard in Des Moines, Iowa.

Krueger, a full-time real estate investor, tells PEOPLE that he was working at one of his properties on Sept. 15 and brought his kids along so they could play in the backyard.

"There's a fenced-in backyard there that they can typically go play in because we've got some play equipment for the kids and stuff back there, and while we're inside we keep really close eye on them," he explains. "But I had just given them some snacks and water bottles at the front door and sent them around back."

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"As they're heading into the backyard and I'm watching them from the window inside, I see him just start screaming," he recalls of son Ross. "I wasn't sure what was going on at first, but I immediately just ran out the front door and ran around to him to see that he was being stung by a bunch of bees."

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Krueger says he then grabbed the toddler and made a run for the back door, all while getting stung himself.

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"His two sisters and he and myself were there, we all came inside and he's still getting stung while we're inside. They were in his clothes so we had to rip all of his clothes off, and I was still killing them inside once we were in the back as well," he shares. "They were just falling out [of his clothes] and flying around inside so we were swatting them out of the air and crushing them on the ground."

Krueger, who shares Ross, Rilynn, 7, Anessa, 5, and Liam, 3 months, with wife Mariah, tells PEOPLE he didn't realize what was exactly happening until he looked back at security footage.

"Looking back, because we have a couple of security cameras on the sides of the house, I saw that it was actually a bunch of bees that were stinging him. I think his sister was the one that stepped in it and kind of woke them up and stirred them up and then he walked right through it."

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Thankfully, Krueger says Ross didn't end up having any allergic reactions to the stings and recovered well.

"We monitored him super closely. He was pretty strong through all of it, but it was still pretty scary," he recalls. "He was pretty worked up for a while, very itchy as we expected."

"We counted close to 20 times that he was stung on his body, so he was just super freaked out. He kept saying his back hurt because that's where he got stung the most. He ended up crying for a while and we snuggled with him and ended up just falling asleep."

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After the incident, Krueger says he went to the hardware store for bee and wasp killer and "went home" on the area where Ross was stung.

Now two months later, Krueger says his son is "handling it a lot better than I thought."

"He's handling it a lot better than I thought. I think because he's still so young it wasn't as traumatic as it could have been, but anytime he sees a bee or something he definitely gets scared and wants to run back inside," he explains.

Krueger says he's now "a lot more alert" when it comes to "large gaping holes" in lawns and hopes that his video will help to drive awareness for others.

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"I'd never seen anything like this before, and I wanted people to be able to see what kind of stuff can happen and just make sure that you're watching your kids for sure and just be on the lookout for these types of things," he shares. "I wanted other people to know that is possible, because, for me personally, I just assumed most wasps and bees lived in trees or things like that but not actually in the ground. Finding out that 70 percent of them actually live in the ground was pretty eye-opening for me."

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