“Bee” Careful: That’s What the Phoenix Fire Department’s Telling Us
Good advice, says Fred Willey, A professional Phoenix Exterminator after he read and viewed the following stories about bee attacks around the Phoenix area.
Five emergency calls in five hours were enough to prompt fire officials here to put out word that bee season has arrived, and that it could be a busy one after a wet winter.
Bees swarm in the spring as groups break away from overcrowded colonies, often setting up hives in places that bring them in contact with people. That’s no small issue with aggressive Africanized honeybees established around Arizona.
This story and the following two stories are typical Calls that our Media has been reporting all year long here in Phoenix, said Fred, and Due to last year’s winter rains there have been a lot of flowers blooming this year from desert areas such as Cave Creek, to downtown Tempe and Mesa, and it’s been a busy season so far, Fred said. When it rains a lot, there’s more pollen and nectar on the plants and that gives the bees a lot of food, which increases the number of swarms. Unfortunately because of the bees had such a successful spring, it can be expected that this fall will be even worse as they prepare for winter time and swarm season is upon us again from here on until we reach the colder winter months.
It is so important that people do exactly what the Phoenix Fire department is saying, BEE Careful, just read these stories, and you will understand why messing with bees is “Not a Do It Yourself Project” you should be attempting.
PHOENIX – An elderly man is in critical condition after being attacked by a swarm of bees Wednesday as he tried to use a vacuum to suck them up.
At about 6 p.m., the Phoenix Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services said they responded to the scene of the attack near 32nd Street and Indian School Road.
Captain Dorian Jackson of the Phoenix Fire Department said the 85-year-old man tried to vacuum the entire hive in a tree outside his home.
Jackson said the victim suffered between 50 and 75 stings on his face alone.
When firefighters and medical personnel arrived at the scene, they tried to walk with the victim to get him away from the bees, but the bees continued to attack for two-city blocks, according to Dorian.
The victim was transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Dorian said it’s extremely important that when people come into contact with a hive on their property, they should contact a professional Phoenix Exterminator and not attempt to get rid of the hive themselves.
Firefighters used foam to extinguish the bees.
The attack was the second time Phoenix firefighters responded to a serious bee attack Wednesday. An 81-year-old woman is also in critical condition after she was attacked by bees near 33rd Avenue and Cactus Road.
In Phoenix — Neighbors say 81-year-old Toni Parker, who was attacked by a swarm of angry bees Wednesday, is doing better and hopes to return home soon.
“She’s doing fine, she’s up and alert,” said Debbie Cameron, who called 911. “She’s got a broken leg close to the hip, and she wants to come home already.”
Cameron says she had just returned home when she got a phone message from Parker.
“She must have left her phone on, because all I could hear was this rustling and I knew something was wrong.”
Soon after, Cameron’s mother came in telling her that Parker was being attacked by bees.
Cameron’s mother, MaryLou Cameron, had rushed over but had been stung nearly 12 times trying to get close enough to help her friend.
“As I got closer, she had the blanket pulled back to see who was coming out and all she kept doing was calling ‘help! help!’ … she uncovered her face and there were bees all over her face,” said Cameron.
Three police officers and another person were also stung in the attack.
Phoenix Fire Department spokesman Dorian Jackson said Parker was trapped on her back patio at 1 p.m. by the swarm of about 1,000 bees.
The home is near 33rd Avenue and Cactus Road.
In a call to 911, a Cameron told the dispatcher that “[Parker’s] fallen and bees are attacking her in a swarm.”
“She couldn’t get away,” Cameron told ABC15. “She must’ve slipped and fell … she broke her leg up near her hip.”
Phoenix Fire Department spokesman Dorian Jackson said Parker was stung 300 times.
Three Phoenix police officers tried to help the woman by spraying the bees with fire extinguishers, but Jackson said that appeared to aggravate the bees further.
He said the officers were stung approximately 50 times each.
They were evaluated by paramedics at the scene and refused treatment, according to Jackson. He said one other person was also stung.
Firefighters closed off the street as they tried to locate the hive. Crews used foam to subdue the bees.
As you can read in these media stories, Africanized honeybees are dangerous to humans and pets because they respond aggressively and in large numbers to perceived threats, a trait that makes them far more dangerous than European honeybees.
The so-called killer bees arrived in southern Arizona in 1993 and since have been found in every county. They are descendants of a variety brought to Brazil from Africa in the 1950s by scientists looking for a better honey producer. The bees bred with the local honeybees and began spreading northward.
Africanized bee attacks can be fatal to people, especially the elderly and those who are allergic to bee stings. Dogs are vulnerable because they often are chained or enclosed by fences and can’t get away.
The bees don’t go out looking for trouble with people, but confrontations often occur when someone inadvertently disturbs a hive or decides to destroy the bees without professional help.
Those who are attacked should run away from the bees or get inside buildings, closing doors behind them. Diving into a pool doesn’t help; the bees will wait for a person to surface, and I always tell people “ They have more air than you do, and you can only hold your breath for so long and they will still be there waiting to sting you.”
The best protection is taking steps to avoid provoking bees, such as staying on hiking trails and not trying to take a closer look at a bee hive. Usually curiosity is the biggest cause of bee attack situations. Don’t wear floral scented perfumes when hiking, and if you are attacked by bees – don’t panic, cover your face, protect your nose and mouth (bees are attracted to your breath and will usually try an sting you around those areas if possible which will cause your airways to swell shut and limit your ability to continue breathing) and run to a protected area such as inside your home, inside a car. It’s better to be in the car with a few bees than out of the car with 50000 bees, just be careful to not put others in danger as well, as the bees will go after everyone around you.
Most importantly of all “Don’t wait to take care of a bee hive” Hire a professional to do this work, as you have read, two individuals were put into almost life threatening situations, and our professional Phoenix firemen came to the rescue at potentially the same risk to themselves. It is alarming to me, with the amount of risk that bees can be, how many times I have heard, “oh, yea they have been there for quite a while”. The quicker we respond to a Hive the better, bees get more aggressive when they have a hive to protect, and the larger the hive the more bees there are, of course, however one thing we haven’t mentioned yet, is the honey! With large hives, there is a lot of honey and potentially more damage to the structure to remove this hive, as well as the fact that any left over honey will attract other pests such as ants, cockroaches, more bees and even beetles. Oh and did I mention that if you leave the honey, there is a good chance it will melt, and flood your house with ooehy, gooey, honey, or did I tell you about the time when the honey got rotten and the whole house smelled like rotten “Honey”. You get the picture.
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