Danger In The Desert: Bees
Arizona made the news again this weekend. Believe it or not, it was sports news! Good news? No. The sports highlight in Arizona this weekend was a bee swarm at a MLB spring training game.
The game, held in Scottsdale, was delayed for 41 minutes because of the bee swarm taking up residency the end of the Giants’ first-base dugout. Center fielder Chris Young said, “I didn’t see them at first I just heard them. I am not afraid of one or two of them, I wouldn’t flinch at that. When you start talking about 500 or 600 of them – I am afraid of that. I would be afraid of anything of that many. If there were that many mosquitoes, I would be afraid of that.”
Fortunately, no one was hurt during this bee incident. Hearing about a “bee delay” for any kind of event sounds comedic and unique, but it’s a common danger here in Arizona.
Bee Attacks On People
In September 2011, one man was killed and two injured after a bee attack In Prescott (Yavapai County). The deceased victim managed to walk to a neighbor’s house before collapsing on their porch. (Source: azcentral)
In February 2012, four people were attacked by bees in Mesa. Firemen had to close access to the area several blocks around scene. Fortunately, there were only minor injuries. (Source: Tucson Citizen)
In March 2010, two women in Phoenix were attacked by a swarm of bees while they were out for a walk. Here is a very morbid description of the scene by a witness: (Source: abcnews)
It looked like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. They were covered, I mean covered in bees, you couldn’t see their face or their skin,” Tony Garcia, another onlooker who tried to help the women, told KNXV. “The other guy was getting stung so he handed me the fire extinguisher and I was trying to get the bees to stop. It was something else, they [the women] had bees in their hair, ears, just all over.”
Bee Attacks On Animals
In Bisbee, a 1000 pound hog was killed during a two hour bee attack. An 800-pound pregnant sow nearby also was stung so many times that she went into a coma and lost her litter. (Source: Huffington Post)
“It doesn’t make any rhyme or reason,” Booth said. “I’ve been doing this over 20 years. For some reason, this year, they’re (Africanized bees) just going completely insane.”
In Avondale, a bee swarm killed three dogs. One of the dogs jumped into a swimming pool in an attempt to escape the attack, but was still killed by the swarm. “Bees that attacked en mass – filling her dogs’ ears, mouths and eyes with their venomous, stinging bodies.” (Source: examiner)
The owner of the dogs, Teri, quickly learned she did not want to live in Arizona:
Teri went to Arizona to further her nursing education. Her hope? To earn a better living so that she could help rescue more dogs. Instead, she is struggling to rescue her own dog, and to keep her head above water in the chaos that has followed her since Thursday night.
Teri moved to Arizona from Washington state. Until Thursday, she was unaware of the killer bee threat in the area. Though the hive that housed the attacking bees has been destroyed, she no longer wants to live in Arizona.
I could go on for many more pages highlighting the dangers of bees in Arizona. They are here in Arizona and are a threat to all people an animals.
What To Do If You See Arizona Killer Bees
I’m not a bee expert, so I’m quoting from the Invader Pest Management website.
- KEEP YOUR DISTANCE! Don’t assume they’re not aggressive because they’re in a hive and you’re not acting in a threatening manner. It doesn’t take much to set the bees off. If they start the attack, then
- RUN! Seriously, if you believe there is a swarm of bees nearby, don’t stick around to find out. Seek shelter, as that is the only way to stop the attack. If you’re out in the desert hiking or in a field, you may have to continue running for one mile to escape the attack.
- DON’T JUMP IN A POOL! The bees will wait for you to come up for air. The carbon dioxide you exhale when coming up for air is an attractant for bees.
Fortunately, I haven’t been stung since living in Arizona. I’ve been near at least two swarms, but was able to get out of the way. The first time I became aware of these bees was when I was out in my driveway washing the car with my young daughter. I heard a buzzing sound coming from the distance and saw a pulsating cloud coming towards me. Surprisingly, it did sort of look like the cartoons! I ran inside, and they passed by. You usually hear the bees before seeing them.
Another time I was in a neighborhood where a dog was killed by swarm of bees, and a child was stung as well (but was ok). The fire department responded and sprayed down the bees with foam. I was told the foam sticks to them, making their bodies too heavy for their wings to support. The bees fall to the ground and the foam eventually suffocates them. The fire departments around here are supplied with bee suits! Even after the fire department pulled away, there were still a good amount of angry bees flying around. As soon as I got out of my vehicle, I began having bees buzz around my head.
This is a photo from that day…
Teri, who had her dogs killed by bees (see above), found her breaking point for wanting to leave Arizona. For her, it was the unfortunate loss of her dogs to bees. I’d like to think she made it out of the desert.
Like Teri, many of us who dwell here in the desert have certain things that bother us and it starts the thought process of Arizona not being what we thought it was. For me, my list for not wanting to live in Arizona is growing every day:
- Arizona Drivers
- Arizona Landscape
- Arizona Mental Health
- Arizona People
- Arizona Pollution
- Arizona Real Estate
- Arizona Valley Fever
- Arizona Weather
- Crime In Arizona
- Drugs In Arizona
- Escaping Arizona
- Family Life In Arizona