It’s your worst fear realized: getting attacked by a swarm of bees!
Every year in the Phoenix area, we hear of attacks, whether on someone’s personal property or on a nature walk.
Is there a way to avoid a bee attack? Or are you destined to live in fear of living out your own personal horror movie?
When Bees Are Buzzing
Bees naturally tend to avoid people as they go about their daily activities of pollinating and making honey. However, when aggravated or if they feel their hive is at risk, they will attack.
Also, since Africanized bees are abundant in Arizona and North America, you’re more likely to encounter angry swarms.
Whether at home or on a hike, stay alert for sounds of buzzing. When you’re on the move, keep moving to avoid the hum of hives. The likelihood is that if you move forward and ignore the bees, they’ll do the same for you. At home, though, you’re more likely to aggravate bees as you move things or do yard work. So stay alert.
Look for bees coming in and out of cracks in walls or a hole around exterior boxes like water meter, electrical, or other water valves for sprinkler systems. Bees can live in holes in the ground, in trees or cacti, in sheds, or around patios and roof eaves. If you are moving items either outside or in the garage, be careful should you encounter some angry buzzers.
Since bees aren’t natural attackers, if you encounter some that are acting strangely, that’s a good warning sign that you’ve done something to perturb them.
If You’re Targeted by Bees
You may well accidentally anger a bee colony, but that doesn’t signal certain doom. There are things you can do to reduce injury. First off, get away. Don’t stand around flailing your arms, as that will only make your new friends angrier. Run out of the area and get inside as quickly as possible. Bees have been clocked at 12–15 mph, but you can run faster than that, so outpace them and head to shelter.
While looking for your escape, cover your head. Stings to the face can impair vision and reduce your ability to think clearly. Pull up your shirt, use a jacket or blanket, and create a covering so you can see clearly as you move away.
Contrary to what cartoons may have taught us, jumping into water will not deter bees!
While they won’t follow you into the pool or stream, they will wait patiently for you to emerge. Then they will be angrier and ready to attack.
If you are stung, once you’re in a safe location, assess the damage. If you have been stung more than 15 times, or you are experiencing pain, swelling, or numbness, seek medical attention immediately – especially if you know you have an allergy or suspect you’re at risk to have an allergic reaction.
Bee on the Offensive
The best way to avoid a bee attack is to be aware. Keep your property free of clutter, and use care when tending woodpiles or boxes kept in the garage or shed. Studies show that bees are attracted to dark colors and floral or citrus colognes, so avoid those when working in your yard.
It’s a smart idea to inspect your property monthly in search of any signs of bees, including holes in walls, trees, and the ground or obvious hives.
If you spot indications of hive activity, do not try to rectify the situation on your own. Bees are extremely dangerous and should be removed by professionals.