Southern California breaking news and trends

Two dogs stung to death, two people hurt in Altadena bee frenzy

Wikimedia

Two dogs and two people were attacked by a hive of bees in Altadena yesterday, and today both dogs have died from their stings, according to reports.

The Pasadena Star-News reports that the dogs lived at a home on the 2900 block of North Marengo Avenue (CBS says it was the 2000 block), and a large hive of bees was ensconced in one of the walls of the house.

According to reports, the bees swarmed and stung the dogs repeatedly just before 4 p.m. yesterday. What made them attack is unclear. Two people were also stung and obtained medical treatment.

The dogs’ owner took them to a vet, according to a fire captain from the L.A. County Fire Department. They succumbed the next day.

Bee attacks are not at all rare in Southern California. This AP story from last year, for example, details a horrific attack on a man in a wheelchair in Santa Ana -- and finishes up with a tale about bees stinging a 1,000-pound hog to death in Arizona. It is not clear whether the bees in the case were Africanized honeybees, also known as “killer bees.”

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Zom-bees! Parasitic fly causes zombie-like behavior, may explain honey bee die-off

honey bees zombie

John Hafernik/AP

In this photo provided by San Francisco State University, the larvae of an Apocephalus borealis fly emerges from the dead body of a host honey bee. The A. borealis fly is suspected of contributing to the decrease in the honey bee population.

Northern California scientists studying the worldwide disappearance of honey bees are abuzz with a possible explanation for the die-off and abandonment of hives: a parasitic fly that turns honey bees into zom-bees. 

Scientists say the fly deposits its eggs into the bee's abdomen, causing the infected bee to exhibit zombie-like behavior by walking around in circles with no apparent sense of direction. The bee leaves the hive at night and dies shortly thereafter.

The symptoms mirror colony collapse disorder, in which all the adult honey bees in a colony suddenly disappear.
The disease is of great concern, because bees pollinate about a third of the United States' food supply. Its presence is especially alarming in California, the nation's top producer of fruits and vegetables, where bees play an essential role in the $2 billion almond industry and other crops.

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