The incident occurred near a residence at Lucerne and Merrill drives around 4:30 p.m.
Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mark Williams told ABC News that a Verizon employee had been called out to check on a report of bees in an underground fiber-optic cable box.
After lifting the box, the angry swarm of 80,000 African killer bees swarmed out and attacked the woman who was nearby.
"When the first engine company arrived, they described an elderly woman completely covered head to toe in bees, as if she was wearing a suit of bees," Williams said. "They were even pulling stings out of her mouth."
She was taken to Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Springs in critical condition, but is expected to recover.
Williams said five firefighters were also hospitalized for stings.
The hive has since been removed from the scene of the incident.
ABC News contributed to this report.