How bee rampage terrorized neighborhood, killed 2 dogs

The Concord beekeeper who set off an attack by a swarm of suspected “killer bees” over the weekend was an experienced hobbyist who had the beehives for 15 years and didn’t notice anything amiss with his honeybees until he tried to move the hives so his father could do some backyard landscaping. […] when he tried to move the second one, those bees went berserk, stinging him despite his bee suit, attacking his parents and rampaging out into the neighborhood around Hitchcock Road, stinging neighbors, passersby, a mail carrier and pets. The terrifying incident comes months after scientists confirmed that Africanized killer bees had migrated from Southern California and were in the Bay Area, at the edge of Briones Regional Park. If DNA tests confirm that the insects are Africanized bees, the incident would be the first known attack in the Bay Area of the invasive species, whose ominous movements northward have been documented for decades. The pugnacious bees spread out along Hitchcock, near Cowell Road and Treat Boulevard, attacking pedestrians, swirling around cars and harassing police officers who arrived to help. Two guys in a pickup truck stopped to help her, and the bees attacked them. Malley said he tried to help the postal worker, Melissa Weisner, who was “was covered in bees.” A jogger running down Hitchcock Road on Saturday also got swarmed by bees, Malley said. The furious onslaught continued Sunday in the well-kept neighborhood of one- and two-story houses, and very few people were venturing outside. The bees, however, buzzed around people’s heads and stung those who stepped out of their cars, including several reporters. Arthur Janke moved the hives Friday to a ranch the family owns in Clayton and on Saturday sprayed them with warm, soapy water when they clustered into a ball for the night, a recommended technique for killing them. The Jankes were still struggling Sunday to get rid of the bees as members of the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association collected samples to submit for DNA testing. Africanized honeybees, also called killer bees because of their tendency to aggressively pursue and repeatedly sting animals and people over distances of as much as 500 yards, were found in the Bay Area in 2014 in Lafayette, near Briones Regional Park, by UC San Diego researchers. The Africanized honeybee is a hybrid of the European bee and the African bee, originally brought west to Brazil to improve honey production. Africanized bees have killed animals on chains and in fenced enclosures in Southern California and Texas. In August 2015, a swarm of Africanized bees killed a construction worker and injured two others in Riverside as the workers graded land for a parking lot, unaware that an underground vault housed a hive. Lott said the killer bees can move into an area and form hives of their own, usurp a honeybee hive or have drones mate with a honeybee queen, forming a hybrid bee. A community alert was still in effect and police were patrolling the area warning passersby about the danger. When in a safe location, call a local bee professional and emergency personnel.

0
0