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Apr 5, 2013 7:42 PM by John Patrick

Dogs in critical condition after Sahuarita bee attack

SAHUARITA - A massive swarm of bees strikes a Sahuarita neighborhood sending two dogs to the animal hospital.

David Romero first saw the swarm of nearly 50,000 bees when they were already attacking his neighbor's dogs.

"The two dogs tried to dig themselves out from under the gate and they were just struggling," explains Romero.

Romero says there were just too many bees to help the dogs at first but eventually they cleared out and he could get them into the safety of his own home. One of the dogs, a Dobson, was so badly injured it could barely walk.

Miguel Diaz wasn't home at the time of the attack but he couldn't be more thankful that his neighbors noticed the swarm. It's thanks to their fast action that his dogs now have the chance to survive.

Diaz says, "Some of our neighbors were brave enough to come get our dogs and take them to their house and we're very appreciative of that."

Diaz thought he had normal spring time bee activity because he never noticed large amounts of bees in his yard. However, Pat McCracken with HTS Bees says this is a very common misunderstanding.

McCracken says, "It's the height where the bees go into your home, it's not something that you wouldn't normally notice."

McCracken estimates that this particular bee hive is about two years old because it measured six feet long and housed nearly 50,000 bees where a normal hive has about 15,000 residents. It only takes one sting out of those thousands of bees to send the entire swarm into an all out frenzy.

"Once that attack pheromone is being released, when you have a hive this size, you're talking about thousands and thousands of bees responding," explains McCracken.

It's this reason McCracken suggests regular inspection to the outside of your house for any holes or spaces a bee can fit in. A bee will make your house their new home if they can find a gap a quarter of an inch or larger. McCracken says to fill those holes immediately with brass, steel wool or insulation if possible.

Grant Cesarek with the Rural Metro Fire Department says if you run into a swarm of bees get yourself into a safe place such as a home or vehicle as fast as possible. If a bee sting does occur conventional tips say remove the stinger as fast possible by scraping it away from your skin with your fingernail or credit card. However, if the bees get particularly aggressive Cesarek says do not hesitate to dial 911.

"Get 911 activated that way if you do get stung or have an allergic reaction the firefighters or paramedics can be there to offer that medical care you're going to need," says Cesarek.

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