Bees Sting Woman 100 Times; Man Gets 80 Zaps

According to James Nieh, a professor of biology at UC San Diego who studies bee behavior, when a bee stings you it releases an alarm pheromone that other bees can smell, causing them to react aggressively.

A woman was stung by bees about 100 times in Indio today, and a man was stung about 80 times, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department is reporting.

The attack in the 81200 block of Francis Avenue was reported about 6:50 a.m. Tuesday.

Both the man and the woman, who were not identified by authorities, were stung on their upper bodies and heads; they were transported to a hospital for treatment, according to Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department.

Firefighters used foam to disable the bees.

Whether the bees were Africanized has not been confirmed, but the behavior matches that of “killer” bees, which are present throughout Southern California, according to UC Riverside’s Center for Invasive Species Research. (See attached Africanized honey bee distribution map.)

“Africanized honey bee[s] respond to activity near their colonies with increased numbers of stinging bees over much greater distances. This can make them life-threatening, especially to people allergic to stings or with limited capacity to escape (the young, old and handicapped), and to confined livestock or pets. In each country into which they have migrated, they have killed humans and animals,” according to published information from UC Riverside’s Center for Invasive Species Research.

According to James Nieh, a professor of biology at UC San Diego who studies bee behavior, when a bee stings you it releases an alarm pheromone that other bees can smell, causing them to react aggressively.

"So when a normal honeybee stings you, maybe a couple of other honeybees will come by, investigate and try to sting you. In an Africanized honeybee you could have hundreds of bees trying to sting you," he told KPBS in 2010.

Despite their dangerous reputation, UCR’s Center for Invasive Species Research contends the United States has had effective public education and control practices, and few people have been or will be killed by bees.

Still, most people want to avoid the stinging insects. Given that Africanized honey bees look very much like any other honey bee that calls the United States home, what should you do if you encounter a hive or swarm of any kind?

Los Angeles County West Vector & Vector-Borne Disease Control District advises that people and pets stay away from all bee swarms and colonies, and residents should call professional vector control if bees are on their property.

“Do not disturb or tease bees, and do not try to remove bees yourself. Do not shoot at, spray water at, throw rocks at, or douse bee colonies with chemicals. This will only irritate the bees. Also, do not attempt to control bees with aerosol pesticides."

If bees are swarming near you, do not panic. “Remain calm and quietly retreat until the bees are out of sight. If forced to run, use your arms and hands to protect your face and eyes from possible stings. Quickly take shelter in a car or building. Water or thick brush does not offer adequate protection,” according to the Los Angeles County West Vector & Vector-Borne Disease Control District.

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you experience a bee problem on your property and you live in the city of Lake Elsinore or Canyon Lake, call Northwest Mosquito and Vector Control District at 951-340-9792. If the bees are living on your property, the agency will remove them at no charge provided they have not nested inside your home's interior. (CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF OTHER CITIES SERVED BY NORTHWEST MOSQUITO AND VECTOR CONTROL DISTRICT.) For residents who live in the city of Wildomar or live in unincorporated area, contact the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health/Vector Control at 951-766-9454.

Vince July 26, 2012 at 04:18 AM
They wanted me to go back to being but a ONE HANDED deck hand, which was appropriate (LOL..."one" handed, deck "HAND"...cracks ME up anyways!), since I then had only the one hand that was still fully functional for all intents and purposes. And I must say, once you have ALMOST "been to the mountain", just shy of being a Top Rung Master Baiter, you can "never go home again"---So I left the industry a coupla three degrees short of reaching that life long, and FOREVER pinnacle---because in the fleet, there used to be a saying: "Once a Master Baiter, ALWAYS a Master Baiter, and there is NO such thing as an Ex-Master Baiter: There are only living Master Baiter's, and dead Master Baiter's". And THAT saying I think was stolen by The United States Marine Corps from the much older fishing fleet (there was a "fishing fleet" all the way back to when Jesus walked the earth ya know). If you don't believe me, next time you are around a Marine, use the term: "Ex Marine", and then wait for the The R. Lee Ermy-like EXPLOSION, and the recitation of The Marine Corps Creed (same as given above, with just a couple subtle changes) STOLEN by the Marines from the fleet it appears, and to be then almost repeated verbatim with a changed word or two, by whatever Marine you just thoroughly irritated with your ignorance on display, as to just who, and what a Marine, OR, a Master Baiter for that matter, truly is about. Cont.
Vince July 26, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Cont.: And when I got back to the lower States, I joined the Army (12/68) since I missed the adrenaline rush, being as how I had become accustomed to the requirements of real deal life or death team work while under stressful, and hazardous conditions. And there you have it.
Reverend Smith July 26, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Bee keepers aren't interested in doing anything but exterminating "Africanized" or "Killer" bees. They are too aggressive to use in honey production and pose a danger (and liability) to people and animals in their vicinity. And they tend to drive out the bees the keepers normally tend. If I had them on my property, I'd dawn a wet suit or Tyvek HasMet suit with breathing apparatus and rent some kind of industrial sprayer and fill it up with Malathion of some other nasty substance and make like Rambo on them.
Cat July 26, 2012 at 04:44 AM
I bet you've talked your way outta every ticket you ever got huh? :~)
Vince July 26, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Awwww stop it Cat. I'm just passing along first person accounts of ....well, as The Grateful Dead would say: "what a long strange trip it's been." 'Course that is mostly PLURAL, so it is way more accurate to say WILD EYED TRIPS, since it always has been a bone of contention with my Guardian Angel as to the situations I done been getting into since, why, why I s'pose since I was but a wee nippy, and I first set forth upon my travels. AND, that Angel done been earning his/her pay check (and I do hope it is a fella been witnessing it all, and for some pretty good reasons!) fer sure... All this bee talk an' I forgot to mention, my little yeller lab girl got hit in the muzzle by a BIG reg'lar ol' diamond back a coupla nights ago---I didn't see the snake, just the fang marks on her mug, about an inch above her nose, on the bridge....and thats how I know it was BIG 'un whut hit her. There is no less then an inch an' a'half twixt them two holes....she's fine now, and once the venom pocket whut's holding better'n a quart plus of blood, and other good stuff, hanging there around her neck finally goes away, she'll be hunky dory. First snake encounter for her I do believe since I got her last summer at Animal Rescue, and so fortunatey it was a reg'lar diamondback, and not a Greenie---otherwise she would be gone now... Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's out dee doe I go!! See ya!!


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