TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - A deadly bee attack in Green Valley is serving as an early warning for a danger that could be outside your door.
A 12-year-old Lab mix, “Sootie," died Monday afternoon after being attacked by a swarm of Africanized bees on his owner’s fenced in patio.
“These bees have already made an attack, so we’re bringing this dog away from it and the bees are following us. And as people are coming out, they are getting stung, too," said Green Valley Battalion Chief Greg Vanelstine.
After the dog was rushed to an animal care center, GVFD crews were at the complex for more than an hour, spraying white foam to keep from buzzing to neighbors.
“As firemen, we don’t have the tools to get rid of the hive - we leave that to the professionals," said Valenstine.
That’s where Greg Williams, owner of Desert Swarm Bee Removal, came in. He responded to the yard, now taped off, where several units were attached to the wall where the bees were in.
“If this hive is this aggressive, it’s probably been living there since last year," said Williams. “You can have bees 365, it depends if they are provoked or not.”
Fire crews said it seemed a little early to be responding to a bee attack, with calls expected to ramp up later this month and into April.
Williams said a number of factors could play a role in an earlier season for aggressive bees, but really - all it takes is someone or something to startle the hive.
“It’s not surprising based on how wet last year was, how strong the hives were going into winter. There is a lot of ground cover right now, so the hives are ramping up, say prior to when they would because we haven’t had ground cover like this in say, years,"said Williams.
The incident is being investigated by the Pima County Sheriff’s Office.