30-40,000 Africanized bees swarmed on Colorado Boulevard near Pasadena City College Thursday afternoon, sending five people to a hospital, including two firefighters and a police officer.
A beekeeper called to the scene by the Pasadena Fire Department said the swarm was “very aggressive.”
“Africanized” honeybees are a subspecies which originated in southern and central Africa with a tendency to pursue and send many attackers after any perceived threat.
Pasadena’s public information officer Lisa Derderian said the bees could have harmed a lot more people if the Fire Department had not acted so quickly.
Officials received a call at 3:27 p.m. about a person with a bee sting, and when authorities arrived at the scene, the “whole block was covered with an influx of bees,” according to Derderian.
The first injured firefighter was stung approximately 17 times after he arrived at the scene to evaluate the first reported victim.
A police officer directing traffic and students arriving at PCC for evening classes was stung so many times he was also taken to a hospital.
Derderian said the city has seen bee swarms before but “nothing to this magnitude.”
A professional beekeeper was sent to the scene to safely remove the hive from the building, which is a hotel on Colorado Boulevard between South Bonnie and North Sierra Bonita avenues, according to Derderian.
Colorado Boulevard near the scene remained closed for a few hours, but reopened shortly before 6:45 p.m., according to the Pasadena Police Department.
Derderian said the bee swarm dissipated a lot when the sun went down.
“But tomorrow [Friday] morning, there may be some inside the hotel walls because it was between eaves and the roof,” she said.
She said the beekeeper was expected to “resolve” the situation.