Bee Testing Underway - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/24/08

Bee Testing Underway

Testing is underway to determine what type of bees swarmed a central Lubbock neighborhood Monday night.  The attack sent five people to the hospital, and forced authorities to close part of 28th Street.

Lubbock Animal Services tells NewsChannel 11 they've sent some of the bees to be tested.  They're coordinating efforts with the Texas State Health Department.  Animal Services Director Kevin Overstreet says the four children and one adult hospitalized have been released.  He says the youngest child had around 30 bee stings.

The folks at Gafford Pest Control sent the bees off for testing. They went out Monday morning to check the home at 1520 28th Street.  Crews say there didn't appear to be any activity, but they did treat the area again, just to be safe.

Around 6:30 p.m. Monday, Lubbock Fire and EMS crews arrived to find bees swarming through the neighborhood near 28th and Avenue M.  Firefighters discovered the bees were coming from the side of the home at 1520 28th Street.  They broke off a portion of the siding and found a large hive.

Battalion Chief Kelly Morman says the bees were very aggressive and stung several people. Crews soaked the hive down with a foam solution to suffocate the bees. Exterminators arrived a short time later to treat the area.

Professionals say they can't be sure, right now, if the bees are typical honey bees or the more dangerous Africanized bees. "They are just more aggressive and generally they are a little smaller and darker bee, but you really can't tell unless they've been tested," Gafford Pest Control Owner Tim Gafford said. 

Neighbors say whatever they are, the swarm scared them. "My heart just dropped. It just dropped. It's scary to have anything like this," neighbor Nettie Gloria said. 

Gafford says some children throwing rocks may have stirred up the hive. He says people who see swarming bees should avoid the area, and if they become more of a problem, folks should call a professional exterminator.

NewsChannel 11 will keep folks updated on the test results.

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