Arizona horse dies in attack by bees

An africanized bee.
An africanized bee.

A 12-year-old Tennessee walking horse has died in an attack by bees in Arizona.

Another horse survived the attack and their owner suffered about 20 stings to her head during her efforts to stop the Sunday morning attack, north of Willcox.

The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office said it was told of the attack around 8.30am and responded with the Willcox Rural Fire Department and Health Care Innovations medical personnel to the 1600 block of West Saguaro Road.

On arrival, deputies noted that two horses were down and an exterminating company was on scene.

A female resident told deputies she heard her dogs barking earlier and when she went outside she observed bees attacking her horses.

She tried to get the bees away from the animals and was repeatedly stung in the head.

Both horses went down during the attack from multiple bee stings.

The woman was treated at the scene for more than 20 strings to her head, but refused transport to a hospital for any further treatment.

One horse was treated by a local veterinarian for the stings, while the second horse died at the scene.

The swarm left the area after deputies and public safety personnel arrived.

The sheriff’s office advised people to stay indoors and close all doors and windows in the event of a bee swarm.

People should not attempt to move the bees or throw objects at the swarm, nor squirt the insects with water.

Typically swarms are transient – they may set up temporary shelter in a tree for a few hours or even days before moving on.

“Swarms that are close to daycare centers, schools, or densely populated areas may need to be removed if they do not leave the area in a reasonable amount of time or are showing aggressive behavior,” the office said.

“If a beekeeper or exterminator is contacted for bees on a private residence or business, the owner/occupant assumes financial responsibility for said services.

“The Fire Department does not typically eradicate bee swarms unless special circumstances are present (such as aggressive, attacking bees that cannot be isolated from the public by reasonable means).

“Killing non-Africanized swarms only strengthens the Africanized population. Non-aggressive bees are essential in nature.”

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One thought on “Arizona horse dies in attack by bees

  • October 8, 2013 at 1:29 pm


    We are very lucky that we don’t have Americanized bees in New Zealand. Lets hope that this long stays the case.

    I was picking up a swarm the other day in Auckland, when the home owner asked me if these bees were Americanized. I advised her that we don’t have them in New Zealand.

    So if your readers ever see a swarm, please contact a beekeeper and not pest control. It’s better for bees to have a new home with a beekeeper than be destroyed.


    Gary Fawcett


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