TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Tucson family is grieving the loss of their three dogs after a swarm of bees attacked them in their backyard.
The family said they had just let their dogs outside when they heard the dogs crying.
The family said when they looked outside, their dogs were covered in bees. Unfortunately, all three dogs died.
The family said firefighters found a hive under their neighbor’s shed.
Just days later, another swarm of bees attacked shoppers at Oro Valley Marketplace.
“When I hear of that kind of attack, I automatically kind of assume that it is an established hive that either nobody knew about and it was disturbed, or thought it was peaceful and because of their unpredictable nature, pets or humans were attacked,' said Monica King, President of the Southern Arizona Beekeepers Association.
King also runs Miksa Honey Farms, and said she has been swamped with bee removal calls.
“I did a shed floor removal because the gentleman was sent to the hospital the day before for operating a drill next to a hive he knew he had. They had been living with it for two years, but he never thought the bees would go on attack like that. The unpredictable nature is what we really have to be careful with," King said.
King said most of the feral hives in Southern Arizona consist of the Africanized honey bee, which is a hybrid.
“The Africanized bees will send three to five times swarms out a year, so not only do you have an unpredictable hive in your backyard, but you are also sending out gifts to your neighbors, which actually isn’t very neighborly," King said.
King says trying to kill the bees yourself using a wasp spray or something similar will not work.
“The reason why it won’t work on bees is because a beehive is complex and it has multiple layers. So you are only hitting one side and you are not getting anything, the queen or any of the bees inside," King said.
King recommends calling an expert to remove the bees and then going one step further to prevent another bee infestation.
“The homeowners need to, after a hive is removed, button it up and make it what we call ‘bee tight.’ That is anything a pencil eraser can go into. If you can stick that pencil eraser into a void, bees can find that spot and get back in there," King said.
She said home protection is a key in preventing attacks.