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.

BLUESGUITAR777 July 24, 2012 at 06:40 PM
I was out fishing on Saturday and had to make a run for it because a swarm was heading toward me. Luckily they didn't pursue. The loud hum of that many bees is an unforgettable sound. Hope the people in the story recover quickly.
Diana July 24, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Good luck trying to get anyone to remove these hives from your property, we have had two hives on our property and called Riverside County vector control and they would do nothing, the only option that was available was a private bee keeper or pest control company that wanted over $100.00 to remove them. We left them alone and after a week they disappeared. Be careful of meat bees too, their hives are in the ground and if you step on it a swarm of yellow jacketed bees will attack you, these type of bee's sting over and over again.
J Carabine July 24, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Don't be too sure they " disappeared" we had some here last year under my tack shed and they had to be taken out with some spray. It worked and it was not anywhere near $100 call Morton's Pest Control in Wildomar.
J Carabine July 24, 2012 at 07:48 PM
There is also a phone number on the wall at Dejong's Dairy for Bee Removal call this number. I saw it today.
Vince July 24, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Diana, I know about Meat Bees and they's ornery lil' bastiches. They not only sting, but also bite and can, and will take a hunk out. Maybe some time I'll show ya where one of them SOB's took a piece outta my arm years back! . Meat Bees are like piranha with wings, and they can strip a carcass FAST if left to their own devices. Same goes for a hide hung out near camp. CA is pretty warm during deer season, so Meat Bees are still in abundance in the early part, and many a hunter has left a "gut pile" too close to camp (for the yote's and other scavenger's), only to find Meat Bees by the thousands not only dismantling it in an orderly fashion, but also GUARDING it. I have had swarms removed, and depending just where they are, that will determine the cost of removal. Most Bee Keeper's are happy to get a new swarm, since when they are "balled-up", or hived, there's gonna be a queen with 'em . So some charge NOTHING to come and get 'em under the right circumstances. But if they are in an outside wall on your house, sorry to say, if the wall needs to be opened up, it is CHEAPER overall simply to send them off to Bee Heaven. And DO close down whatever access port they found in the first place, since another swarm will find it eventually. Seen that happen more than a few times. A pal of mine died in '99, in the hills above Banning--he was highly allergic, and didn't have his Shot Kit with him that day, and that was all she wrote. The ones that did him in were Egyptian Bees.
CB July 24, 2012 at 09:29 PM
What city was this in? I have no idea where Francis Avenue is.
Diana July 24, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Vince, my first introduction to these kind of bees was on my 10 acers that had a natural wash that ran through it, I decided to show a friend of mine this area and we took a walk down there. On our way back we stepped on a hive, I had a halter top on and cut offs and they started to bite me and sting me, we were both getting stung and took off running for the house, they chased us up the hill and into the house biting us the entire way. Here we were the two of us trying to kill the bees that came into the house, get meat tenderizer to put on our stings and screaming the entire time. I was stung over 30 times, luckily I didn't have to go to the ER room, if someone would have recorded this i'm sure it would have been hysterical, needless to say I have all kinds of respect for them.
Vince July 24, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Blues, You's right about a sound being unforgettable! I had a BIG swarm go over my head last month, early evening, not quite dusk. I heard a strange "whoosh" sound, and thought to myself: "Now WTF is THAT??? It almost sounded like a parachute "spilling wind"....just an odd, unfamiliar, rather subtle, yet alarming rushing noise. Then I got to looking up, because it was coming from UP, an' THAT is when I realized what it was: It had ta be a bezillion bees, just a coupla 3 feet over my head, to what seemed like maybe 20 feet high. But it is hard to say how "tall" it was to the top of the swarm, 'cause I was beating feet through the back door faster'n you could say: Rumpled Foreskin. Aaaaaa, errrr, I mean, Stiltskin! Some critters do make BIG noise when they are flying--reminds me of the time I was down on the river duckhunting with a coupla Bro's, and a little flock of 5 Ringnecks came ripping in with a WHISTLING SHREEEEK...I Did a classic "flashback" when I noted it was coming from on high, and yelled: "INCOMING!!! We was in a boat so I couldn't hit the ground, but I about drove my body through the bottom of the boat gettin' on DOWN to escape the red hot shrapnel and other debris I expected to come raining on us when the dang "thing" blowed up. Heck, that had to be right at 40 years ago, and doncha know, them 2 guys STILL bring it up, and laugh they's azzes off as they tell the tale to ANYONE who'll listen---It's a "guy thing", that "bustin' balls", ya know?
Christi July 25, 2012 at 12:16 AM
I can't count how many swarms I've had over my house in Wildomar. Meat or sweat bees are actually wasps. Only wasps bite. My son was pushed into a mud hive many years ago at the bus stop. His arm swelled so bad I thought we would have it lanced open because of the pressure. But normally they stay away if you cover food and have no sweet drinks.
BLUESGUITAR777 July 25, 2012 at 12:27 AM
lol @ Vince. You're my kinda peeps. Have a good one.
Harold Sharpe July 25, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Francis is in Indio. My opinion was reporting was not in a way easy to read. Had they said 82000 francis ave in Indio it sure would be easier. Instead the slipped in Indio in the first line. But the portion of Lake Elsinore and Canyon Lake made it all too confusing.
Harold Sharpe July 25, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Too Funny Vince. Great read. you should be a writer,.... for the patch.
Cat July 25, 2012 at 01:37 AM
@Vince...what'd I tell you! You really should bee a writer for the Patch....or at least write down your stories in a computer file for your Great Grand Kids to read some day....jes sayin! :~)
Cat July 25, 2012 at 01:40 AM
To bee or not to bee....or... just run like hell! :~)
Cat July 25, 2012 at 01:41 AM
"They'll bee back!"
Vince July 26, 2012 at 04:15 AM
And speaking of The River, where I still hunt and fish, here is a Fish Story for ya'll: Many years ago I was living in Alaska, having left home at 16, and I went to work on a commercial fishing boat. I was young, and adventurous, and in it more for the adventure rather then for the really good money to be made in that very dangerous job environment. "Baiting" was to become an important part of my job description in time, and believe it or not, it was considered a "skilled trade" throughout the fishing fleet---although it was not unionized (maybe now---but not back then) as are many other "skilled trades", in many other industries. I started on the lowest rung on my maiden voyage, and I was more or less simply a deck hand (crew helper) with duties that were not all that difficult to carry out, although they were rife with the potential for falling off the darn vessel. And if that were to happen there was always the possibility of being left to a watery grave if one were to fall off the boat under the cover of darkness, or in a visibility limiting storm in heavy seas. Cont.
Vince July 26, 2012 at 04:17 AM
Cont.: On my 2nd Season Tour I was finally elevated to a higher position, due to having attained a "tried and proven veteran status", and actually was no longer a lowly deck hand, as I then became a "baiter". I won't go into the job description, or the necessary skills to perform the duties inherent, beyond saying that "baiting" has some really fine nuances, and is not as easy as it sounds. So I began my Baiting Apprenticeship, as it were, on that trip, and ended the season at the 2nd Stage Apprentice Level. I really was looking forward to the coming next season, because with any luck at all I would be elevated to and through Stage 3, on into 4th Stage, and then perhaps to even being certified a 5th Stage Apprentice Baiter by season's end. Cont.
Vince July 26, 2012 at 04:17 AM
Of course besides the potential for much higher pay at that hoped for 5th Level juncture, I would be but one step away from becoming a full fledged, and very respected among my peers, Journeyman Baiter (AKA: Master Baiter). Alas, it was not to be on that next trip though, or at any future time to come, because I had injured one of my hands soon after attaining Level 3---and it was whispered that I had gotten "cocky" when I hit 3rd Stage, my guard was dropped; that's when my hand tangled in what we called "the blanket" (fishing term)--and so I wasn't able to perform any longer as a true 3rd Stage Apprentice Baiter, what with only the use of one hand---which to me was very unfair, because I had trained myself to use either hand while working "the blanket", and quite effectively too. Cont.
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!!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »