Neighbors Await Bee Testing Results - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/24/08

Neighbors Await Bee Testing Results

It could take weeks to determine what type of bees swarmed a central Lubbock neighborhood. Lubbock Animal Services sent specimens to the State Health Department, after a swarm of aggressive bees sent five people to the hospital Monday evening.

Lubbock Animal Services Director Kevin Overstreet tells NewsChannel 11 all five victims, four children and one adult, are out of the hospital. He says the youngest victim had around 30 bee stings.  The bees seemed to be gone Tuesday night, but some neighbors say they're still concerned.

"What if they get around the neighborhood," Nettie Gloria said. 

Bees swarmed a home near 28th Street and Avenue P around 6:30 p.m. Monday. It became so bad that Lubbock Fire and EMS crews were alerted.

"It's an unusually large amount of bees.  We discovered that several people had been stung by the bees; the bees were acting very aggressively," Battalion Chief Kelly Morman said. 

Fire fighters found a large hive underneath the siding of the home at 1520 28th Street. They soaked the hive with a foamy solution to suffocate the bees, before exterminators arrived.

"My heart just dropped; it just dropped. It's scary to have anything like this," Gloria said. 

Now, Lubbock Animal Services is working with the State Health Department to determine if the bees are typical honey bees, or the more dangerous Africanized bees.

"Most honeybees will leave you alone unless you agitate them. Africanized bees are a little different. They will attack you. They will aggressively attack you," Tim Gafford, owner of Gafford Pest Control said. 

Gafford says folks should always be cautious of swarming bees.

"They need to stay away from them. They don't need to agitate them. If they feel like it's an ongoing thing, they need to call pest control professionals," Gafford said. 

Gloria says she'll be on the lookout.

"I don't care what kind of bee it is or what color it is, just to be alert," Gloria said. 

Lubbock Animal Services hopes to have results within three to four weeks. We'll keep folks updated.

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