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Swarming Bees Kill Dog After Man Trimming Branch Disturbs Hive

By Michael Mullins   |   Monday, 18 Mar 2013 03:08 PM

Image: Swarming Bees Kill Dog After Man Trimming Branch Disturbs Hive
Close-up of an Africanized bee, or "killer bee."
A swarm of California killer bees stung a neighbor's dog to death after a man accidentally disturbed their hive while cutting down a tree branch Saturday afternoon in North Hollywood.

The bee hive was inside the tree when it was agitated by the disturbance, according to CBS Los Angeles.

The man managed to escape the swarm, but the dog in a neighboring yard was unable to get away from the bees. The dog suffered numerous stings and later died at a veterinary clinic.

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The owners of the 5-year-old female pit bull named Babe did not identify themselves to the media.

Firefighters were dispatched to contain the swarming bees with a mixture of foam and water. Soapy solutions are often used to kill wild bees by first immobilizing and then suffocating them. The insect's air supply is cut off when it is coated by the soap's residue.

The remnants of the hive were removed on Sunday.

Earlier this month, in Modesto, a 10-year-old Australian shepherd-border collie mix named Buffy was killed by bees after being tied to a tree while its owners went to church. When they returned, they found the dog lying motionless on the ground as a swarm of bees hovered above it. Despite managing to chase the bees away, the dog was already dead.

The dog had reportedly received at least 50 stings during the attack, according to The Modesto Bee.

Africanized bees, commonly referred to as killer bees, are a hybrid of European honey bees and African honey bees. The latter are significantly larger and more aggressive than the European ones. Consequently, small swarms of Africanized bees have been known to invade and take over much larger European bee hives, killing the European queen and replacing her with an Africanized queen.

African bees made it to the Americas by way of Brazil in 1956, where scientists were hoping to create a more productive honey bee better adapted to tropical areas.

A shipment of the bees escaped and began cross-breeding with local Brazilian (European) honey bees. Since the 1950s, killer bees have been multiplying and migrating north. They were first spotted in Texas in 1990.

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The bees are now found in Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, and the southern third of California.

Cold weather is the only deterrent shown to halt the killer bee's northward expansion.

Related stories:

100,000 Killer Bees Attack Florida Park Workers Who Disturbed Hive

Honeybee Die-Off Threatens Food Supply

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A swarm of California killer bees stung a neighbor's dog to death after a man accidentally disturbed their hive while cutting down a tree branch Saturday afternoon in North Hollywood.
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