Bees on the Attack

Thousands of aggressive bees sting three-year-old boy and firefighter nearly 100 times after swarming neighborhood.

A huge swarm of irate bees went on the attack in an Arizona neighborhood leaving six people suffering nearly 100 stings each. Officials say firefighters were called to a home where thousands of bees were swarming the area.

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The firefighters, however, were unable to even leave their truck. They eventually had to put on protective gear. The bees were so aggressive that they almost weren’t able to reach several of the victims.

Police then had to do a reverse 911 call to people in the neighborhood, telling them to keep their doors and windows closed and to stay inside. It’s believed that the bees had a hive in a tree on the front lawn.

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Firefighters sprayed the whole area with foam.

So what’s up with this case? This would have me running as fast as I could for safety. I am allergic to bee stings. I see a bee or wasp, and I panic. Childhood memories of swelling pop up immediately.

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Some, however, look to bees for guidance. Some experts believe bees are more sensitive to dangers, and the changes, around us. Honey bees, for example, sense weather changes and respond in time.

One beekeeper, Michael Adam, has this to say about bees and weather forecasting…

“Regarding the bee-crowding saying under your weather signs – Probably partially true. Bees crowd around the entrance of the hive for many reasons, but most spectacularly when it is extremely hot and moist. They need to dehydrate their honey before they cap it to reduce the moisture content, otherwise it will ferment in the comb. Also, being unable to regulate their own internal temperature, they must rely on the air to cool off. Taking those two factors into consideration, it is best on extremely warm days to hang out outside the hive (we call it “bearding”), so the combined heat from the weather and normal hive activity (even during the winter the inside of a hive can be warm and moist) doesn’t bake the larva that are inside or soften the wax. Also, clearing out space helps increase airflow to aid the cooling process and to dehydrate the honey. Bees will even line up and fan their wings to encourage drafts.

So is the weather necessarily nice if they do this? Well, it is hot out, that’s for sure. I have had bees do this just before and during sudden thunderstorms, late into the night, on beautiful days, on cloudy days, etc.

If they aren’t bearding, it just means that they are going about their daily activity because the conditions inside the hive aren’t too hot or moist.”

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