Africanized bee attacks on rise in Arizona

April 8, 2010 at 7:04 PM
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PHOENIX, April 8 (UPI) -- Arizona fire officials and beekeepers say an outbreak of bee attacks in recent weeks is a result of an increased population of aggressive Africanized bees.

The increase has occurred because a large amount of rainfall meant flowers bloomed at a fast pace this year, The Arizona Republic reported Wednesday.

The most recent incident occurred Tuesday, when a swarm of bees attacked three workers preparing to demolish a Phoenix building, said Capt. Jonathan Jacobs of the Phoenix Fire Department.

Fire crews arrived at the scene to find a 54-year-old man on the ground, covered in bees. Firefighters sprayed him with foam and had him hospitalized.

Jacobs said fire crews so far this year responded to two or three bee calls per day. Between March 15 and last week, area fire crews responded to 16 calls related to swarming bees. There were 41 calls last year.

Bees usually don't bother or sting people, but may attack if they are annoyed by excessive noise or if people disturb their colony, said Montey McDaniel, owner of the Bee Man AZ in Sierra Vista.

Victims of a bee attack should run as quickly and as far away from the bees as possible. They should not flail, as that may further incite the bees, and victims should call 911 if a person has been stung by many bees simultaneously, or has an allergic reaction to a bee sting, newspaper reported.

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