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Big Honeycomb Found at Location of Pasadena Bee Swarm

Five people sent to local hospital last week after bee stings

Published on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 | 6:10 am
 
Photos courtesy Pasadena Fire Dept.

According to a city spokesperson, six feet of honeycomb was found in the walls of a local hotel where a block-long Africanized bee swarm originated from last week.

“They may have been there for a while,” said City Spokesperson Lisa Derderian.

As of Friday, the honeycomb had not been removed from the location.  The bees may have been in the walls for years.

Police and firefighters were called to the scene after a report about a bee swarm near the Howard Johnson Inn on Colorado Boulevard. Two firefighters, two police officers and one civilian ended up at a hospital after being stung. One firefighter was stung at least 20 times.

A loud sound or even perfume could have set the bees off.

The firefighter’s uniforms may have made the situation worse according to Derderian. Bees are attracted to bright colors and the bright yellow is one the colors of firefighter’s uniforms.

Once the fire department understood the situation, backup began arriving in bee protective clothing.

Derderian said in her 18 years with the city, the department occasionally dealt with beehives, but she had never seen anything like the one-block swarm firefighter reported last week.

Africanized honey bees migrated to the United States from South American in the late 70s. By L.A. County was declared Africanized by the Los Angeles County agricultural department after the Africanized bees began mating with the less aggressive American honeybees.

According to local beekeeper David Williams, while all bees will attack if their hive is threatened Africanized honey bees attack in greater numbers.

“They thought something was threatening their babies, basically,” Williams said. “Their offspring and the food supply and they were doing what bees do naturally except with an Africanized colony. It’s a hyper defensive response. So you get, instead of maybe 5 percent or 10 percent of a normal beehive defending its space. [With Africanized bees] you get up to 70, 80 percent of the bees in the hive defending the space.”

In 2015, bees attacked a crowd at a Pasadena High School graduation. Three adults and a child had to be treated after being stung.

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