Bee swarm attacks horses near Willcox

Published: Sep. 22, 2013 at 7:26 PM MST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2018 at 5:27 PM MST
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WILLCOX, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Sunday morning a swarm of bees attacked a woman and her horses just north of Willcox, killing one of the animals.

The Cochise County Sheriff's Office says it happened in the 1600 block of West Saguaro Road.

Sheriff's deputies responded along with Willcox Rural Fire Department and Health Care Innovations medical personnel. Upon arrival, deputies noted that an exterminating company was on scene and two horses were down.

The female resident advised that she heard her dogs barking earlier and when she went outside she observed bees attacking her horses. She advised that she attempted to get the bees away from the animals when she was repeatedly stung in the head. The woman said that both horses went down during the attack and were suffering from multiple bee stings.

The woman was treated on the scene for what appeared to be more than 20 bee stings to her head. She refused transport to a hospital for any further treatment.

One horse was treated by a local veterinarian for the bee stings, while the second horse, a 12-year-old Tennessee walking horse, died at the scene as a result of the attack.

The bee swarm left the area after deputies and public safety personnel arrived. The department released the following safety tips regarding bee swarms:

  • Stay indoors.
  • Close all windows and doors.
  • Do not attempt to move bees (don't throw objects at the swarm or squirt with water).

Typically swarms are transient. They may set up temporary shelter in a tree for a few hours or even days before moving on.

Swarms that are close to daycare centers, schools or densely populated areas may need to be removed if they do not leave the area in a reasonable amount of time or are showing aggressive behavior.

If a beekeeper or exterminator is contacted for bees on a private residence or business, the owner/occupant assumes financial responsibility for said services.

The fire department does not typically eradicate bee swarms unless special circumstances are present. Killing non-Africanized swarms only strengthens the Africanized population. Non-aggressive bees are essential in nature.

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