Bee Swarm Kills Dog In Los Angeles; 5 Facts About Killer Bees

By Staff Reporter on March 18, 2013 1:18 PM EDT

Bees
Bee Swarm (Photo: Creative Commons)

A bee swarm kills a dog in North Hollywood, California, on Saturday. According to reports, a neighbor was cutting down a tree, agitating a hidden bee hive.

KTLA reports that the man cutting the tree managed to flee down the street to escape the angry swarm. Unfortunately, 5-year-old pit bull "Babe" was unable to escape the bees. A devastating incident that escalated in a matter of seconds, neighbors were especially concerned as small children were playing in nearby yards at the time. Thankfully, the kids were unharmed.

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"We've all got kids and dogs," said one neighbor to KTLA. "Luckily they didn't hurt any kids, but it's terrible they hurt a dog."

The Los Angeles Fire Department neutralized the bees with foam chemicals. However, the threat of bees will remain until the tree and the hive is removed. While it is unclear what variety of bee attacked, many experts believe the Africanized variety, also known as killer bee, was responsible.

Unfortunately, 5-year-old Babe was not the first dog to be attacked as several incidents in Southern California involving "killer" bee attacks on dogs have been reported in recent years. Last year, an aggressive swarm killed three out of four dogs owned by an Altadena, California family. A bee hive was discovered in the wall cavity near the water heater inside the family's home.

Here are five things you should know about the dangerous Africanized "killer" honey bee:

5.) Africanized honey bees are not bred for beekeeping. Bees of Europe such as Italy's Apis Mellifera ligustica have been bred for honey for thousands of years. Beekeepers prefer to eliminate the fierce strains during the breeding process. As a result, European bees have been gentled. Africanized honey bees have not.

4.) Bees of central and southern Africa must adapt to the more challenging environment of Africa's sub-Saharan. Africanized honey bee varieties must defend against other aggressive insects, as well as animals like the honey badger, which can destroy hives if the bees are unable to defend themselves.

More likely to attack against a perceived threat, African bees can pursue a target for over a mile when. Scientists deem the African bees' trait as hyper-defensive behavior.

3.) The toxins from an Africanized honey bee sting is no more potent than any other variety of honey bee. However, the African bee is significantly more dangerous as it is more easily provoked, quicker to swarm, attack in greater numbers, and pursue targets for greater distances.

2.) Despite the fear factor of "killer" bees, stings from African bees kill just one or two people per year in the United States.

1.) Should a person encounter an angry swarm of African bees, the only option is to run. Victims should protect their face and sensitive head areas. Pulling a shirt over one's head can be an option as long as it does not slow one's running.

Run for an indoor shelter if one does not manage to outrun the swarm. Check for injuries or allergic reactions.

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