A large swarm of bees stung three men, one of them critically, shortly before noon Wednesday near Downtown Las Cruces.
The 52-year-old man was found unconscious on a driveway by Las Cruces firefighters who arrived shortly before noon Wednesday at The Alameda House at 526 S. Alameda Blvd. in Las Cruces.
Firefighters used foam and water to scatter the bees that were covering the man.
The man was treated at the scene and then taken to Mountain View Regional Medical Center where he is in serious but stable condition.
Two other employees of the tree-removal business also were stung. One of the men, age 30, was transported to Memorial Medical Center but was released not long after.
ABC-7 spoke with one of the men, Javier Solis, who said the 52-year-old victim was cutting limbs off an old cottonwood on the southwest corner of The Alameda House property when the bees came out.
"We didn't see them until he cut the limb off," said Solis. "There were about 600 of them, maybe more."
Solis said the workers tried lowering the victim from the tree, but the rope kept getting stuck. "He needed help but we couldn't get close because all the bees were stinging and following us."
Solis said the victim's face was covered in bees before emergency responders came to the rescue.
Entomologists from Las Cruces and Dona Ana County are assessing how best to eradicate the bee colony that is believed to be living inside the large cottonwood.
Police and firefighters strongly suggest that residents avoid foot traffic in the area of Alameda Boulevard and Miranda Street , between Lohman Avenue and El Molino Blvd.
Residents of that area also are encouraged to bring pets indoors until at least sunset when the bees are expected to return to their hive.