Three California dogs were killed by a bee swarm early Tuesday morning. Officials with Santa Ana Animal Control confirmed three Australian shepherds were attacked, and stung to death, by a massive swarm of bees.
Linnea Chapman said she went outside to check her dogs, Bailey, Bartlett, and Remy, at approximately 1:30 a.m. She was stunned to find all three unresponsive.
As reported by NBC News, Chapman immediately called a veterinarian for assistance. The veterinarian instructed her to physically check her dogs for signs of injury. Chapman was horrified to find numerous bees entangled in her dogs’ fur.
Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna confirmed Animal Control officers responded to the scene. A bee specialist was also called to assess the situation.
As reported by Orange County Register, the specialist eventually tracked the bees to a hive on an adjoining property. According to reports, the property owners were alerted about the hive and have made arrangements to have it removed.
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Although the necropsies are pending, officials are certain the dogs were killed by the bee swarm.
A similar incident nearly killed an 89-year-old Utah man last week. As reported by the Deseret News, Jay Francis was attending a baseball game in Bountiful when he was attacked by a swarm of bees.
Francis was rushed to a local hospital for treatment. Although he survived the attack, doctors said he is lucky to be alive. The elderly man was stung nearly 400 times.
Bee swarms can be frightening. Unfortunately, they are not uncommon. As discussed by the University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources, swarming bees are specifically common during spring.
Bee swarms are formed when worker bees leave the comb to find a new nesting site. Although swarms can contain up to 20,000 worker bees, they rarely attack humans or animals.
“It takes quite a bit of stimulation, such as being hit by sticks and stones or squirted with a hose, to induce defensive behavior.”
Honey bees are rarely aggressive, unless they are hungry. However, Africanized honey bees are notoriously unpredictable.
Homeowners should be cautious of bee swarms and swarming clusters located on fixed objects. Although removal is recommended, it should be done by an experienced beekeeper.
It is unclear what species of honey bees killed the California dogs. However, the necropsies are expected to provide more details about the unusual attack.
Linnea Chapman said she and her husband are devastated that their dogs were killed by a bee swarm. As they have no children, Bailey, Bartlett, and Remy were like members of their family.