Yuma Fire Department Press Releases
On Monday September 14, 2015, shortly after 8:00 a.m. a problem with a bee swarm was reported in the 400 block of East 26th Place. Yuma Fire Department personnel arrived to find a swarm had been disturbed by lawn work being done.
Firefighters in protective gear entered a yard to find two dogs had been stung; one of them was lying on the ground covered in bees. The dogs were removed from the yard. Both dogs were returned to the owner who took them to be treated by a veterinarian. We have been told that both dogs are expected to survive. No human residents or fire personnel were injured.
The swarm was found to have come from an area under a shed in the yard and an exterminator was later called in by the resident. Firefighters occasionally are called to reports of bees swarming or acting aggressively. Normal firefighting “turnout” gear (jackets, pants, gloves, etc) is supplemented with bee masks (netting worn over the head) to provide additional protection when handling these situations.
Although bee sting deaths are rare, they do occur and people with allergies to these stings are particularly at risk. Bees can swarm into a location and stay for only a couple of hours, or make it their new home. Not all bees are “killer bees,” (in AZ since 1993) but people do need to be cautious when outdoors hiking, hunting, fishing, biking, etc. They won’t form a large swarm and “hunt” for you (That’s a Hollywood thing!), but they will defend themselves aggressively.
Some things you can do to reduce your risk are to check your house and yard once a month (fill cracks and crevices in walls). Remove piles of junk from your yard. Be aware of your surroundings, keep escape routes in mind. Watch for warning signs (flying at your face, buzzing your head, etc.). Keep away from bee colonies/swarms.
YFD will respond if someone is being attacked or has been injured, but otherwise call a beekeeper or exterminator if you encounter a swarm.
Photo (Firefighter Leo Gonzales in gear for a bee swarm response) courtesy of the Yuma Fire Department.