A horrifying attack by a swarm of bees in an Arizona neighborhood killed a man and injured a number of other people.
At least six area residents were stung “multiple times“ in the attack Thursday in the Tucson suburb of Marana, according to fire officials.
Three victims, believed to have been stung “hundreds of times,” were transported for medical evaluation. One of them, a man who was not identified by authorities, later died.
Three firefighters responding to the emergency were also stung several times.
A large bee hive, weighing about 100 pounds, was located in a tree in the neighborhood and removed.
“Bee handlers have killed most of the bees and have removed the hive,” according to a statement from the Marana Police Department. “Although the area is much safer, there are still some lingering bees. Please continue to use caution while in the area.”
Most Arizona swarms involve Africanized honey bees, a cross between African and European bees, but they are not “killer bees,” according to the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson.
“Africanized honey bees do not fly out in angry swarms to randomly attack unlucky victims,” according to the center.
Swarms of bees, which are leaving their parent colony to start a new hive, are “generally docile regardless of type” because they have nothing to protect, the center noted. But the bees can become “highly defensive” when protecting their hives.
A good “safety precaution” is to stay the “width of a four-lane highway” from any African honey bee hive, the center advises.
Just days before the Arizona attack, two dogs were killed in a backyard in Los Angeles by an angry swarm of “thousands” of bees, said the homeowner, who was stung multiple times as he tried to save the animals.
From 2000 through 2017, an average of 62 people died each year from bee, wasp and hornet stings, according to a 2019 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.