Bee attack kills 1 dog, injures another

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - One pitbull was killed and another severely injured when they were attacked by Africanized bees outside a St. Petersburg home Thursday.

"In my 24 years, I've never seen anything like it," said St. Petersburg Detective Barry Brooks.

The bee attack occurred in the 600 block of 23rd Avenue South.  When Det. Brooks showed up, he thought the two pit bulls he saw by the fence were dead. They had thousands of bees swarming around them.

"As we got closer, we yelled, and one dog started moving a little bit. She never opened her eyes, but we could tell she was breathing," said Brooks.

The two pit bulls were stray dogs named Boss and Mama. Boss was killed by the bees. Mama was fighting for her life, stung more than 100 times.

Mama was taken to Noah's Animal Hospital, where they used tweezers to remove all of the stingers. She is now being given fluids through an IV and taking Benadryl and a steroid to counteract the allergic reaction.

"She's not out of the woods yet, but we're hoping for the best," said Kelly Charleston with Noah's Animal Hospital.

Police discovered the bees came from Don Burns home where they had built a nest in his attic.

"If I would have known they were back there, they wouldn't have been back there. I would have gotten rid of them a long time ago," Burns said.

But while their presence came as a surprise to Burns, it didn't to local bee expert Jonathan Simkins.

"About 60 percent of the jobs that we do every day are African Bees," Simkins said.

Simkins, an entomologist and the owner of Insect I.Q., said Africanized bees have been increasing at a startling pace ever since they first appeared in the Tampa Bay area back in 2002. He attributes it to their swarming characteristics and the rate at which they multiply.

The bee is known to be very aggressive.

"When you have an African colony, when they respond, the whole colony quickly leaves the nest and attacks whatever is there," said Simkins.

A bee keeper was sent to the property to address the hive. Neighbors were advised to stay indoors until Friday morning.

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