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10 things to know about Africanized bees

Posted at 10:46 AM, Aug 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 13:46:32-04

Every year it happens numerous times in the Valley. A swarm of aggressive bees will attack hikers, construction workers or people just walking by.  First responders swoop in. We show you images of foam left behind.

Would you know what to do if you were attacked? Would you try to swat them off? Flail your arms? Run? Jump into your pool?

Experts recommend only one of those things and that is run.

"That's the only way get away from them and they can follow you up to a quarter of a mile," said Tony Neely, battalion chief at Peoria Fire Department.

Neely said to try to cover your mouth and nose and try to take shelter. 

Here are ten things to know about Africanized bees:

  • If you come upon a hive or swarm of bees, get yourself and pets inside immediately.
  • The use of weed eaters, hedge clippers, lawn mowers, and chainsaws can agitate bees, especially when a hive or nest is disturbed.
  • If you encounter bees out in the open, run as quickly as you can in a straight line away from them. If possible, run through trees to disperse the swarm and seek shelter in a building or vehicle. Cover your face, without slowing your escape.
  • The worst thing to do is to spray bees with water. It will only make them more agitated.
  • Do not jump in a pool or other body of water, because the bees will hover for hours and wait for the person to surface.
  • If you see someone being attacked and unable to run away, try to quickly cover exposed skin or susceptible areas of their body and then run to a safe location and get help.
  • Wear light-colored clothing when outside. Bees tend to attack dark colors.
  • Bees are sensitive to scents and odors. Avoid floral and citrus after-shaves and perfumes.
  • If you are stung, use a blunt object to scrape any stingers out of your skin. Wash the affected area with soap and water to avoid infections. Use ice packs to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Carefully monitor yourself for any unusual reactions after any bee sting. Of course, if you are stung multiple times, or have a known allergy, contact medical personnel immediately.