A swarm of angry bees in central California attacked a beekeeper and then a neighbor’s two large dogs, killing one of them.
The sudden attack occurred Sunday evening as a resident of Ceres was attempting to harvest honey from a hive he kept in his backyard. The insects swarmed him, stinging him several times, even though he was wearing protective gear, the Los Angeles Times reported. The bees then zoomed over to a neighbor’s yard and attacked the dogs.
“For an unknown reason, unknown to him or to us, when he attempted to harvest the honey the bees became very aggressive,” said Battalion Chief Rich Scola of the Ceres Fire Department.
The dogs’ owner, who raced out of his home to protect his pets, was also stung several times. One of the dogs, a pit bull, died, and the second was severely injured, the Sacramento Bee reported, but was expected to survive.
The 53-year-old beekeeper — stung “too many times to count,” a fire official told KCRA-TV in Sacramento — was treated at a hospital and released. The hive contained about 4,200 bees.
Firefighters knocked on doors in the area to warn 45 neighbors to stay inside. A professional beekeeper was called in to deal with the hive. The bees were removed to a rural area and euthanized to “protect the public’s safety,” said a statement from police.
The bees were killed “to make sure that if there was any aggressive nature within that colony they were destroyed and were not able to repopulate somewhere else,” Scola told Fox News.
Five other dogs were killed in California in similar circumstances in February. A terrier and her four puppies died in Norco in Southern California after they were attacked by bees from a hive on the property.
No charges will be filed against the Ceres beekeeper, KCRA reported.