Bee attack: Bees swarming humans, dogs more frequently, experts say

ByAndrea Fujii ABCNews logo
Friday, May 26, 2023
Bee attacks on the rise, experts say
One man trying to clear a bee hive was attacked, and his neighbor's dog died. The incident was caught on video.

CHICAGO -- It's "swarming season," meaning bee attacks are on the rise.

Experts are sounding the alarm about bees, ABC News reported.

"This is the season for swarming," said James Nieh, a professor with the University of California-San Diego Department of Ecology, Behavior and Evolution.

In recent weeks, across several states, humans and animals have been stung in multiple attacks.

"Literally thousands, at least a thousand on me and at least 2 or 3,000 flying around the area," said John Fisher, who was attacked by bees.

While out for some exercise, Fisher and his dog were swarmed by hundreds of bees outside Phoenix earlier this week.

Surveillance video shows him trying to fight the bees off, and when emergency crews arrived, even they got attacked, before they sprayed him down.

"They were all over my arms, all over my face, all over my back," Fisher said.

Fisher was stung 250 times, his dog, "Pippin" 50. They're now recovering from their wounds.

In California last week, Tommy Baker was trying to clear a bee hive himself outside Los Angeles when a swarm attacked him.

"It got to the point where I couldn't see in front of me. There were so many bees just swirling around," Baker said.

RELATED: Caught on camera: Aggressive bees swarm, attack California man, neighbor's dog in growing trend

The bees followed him and his neighbor's dog.

"He was covered head to toe, everywhere," said Bryan Engen, the dog owner.

The dog, Chance, died days later.

Experts have said the attacks are seasonal, with weather playing a big role.

"Throughout the state of California, we've had a lot of rain. And increased rainfall can lead to a boom in bee populations," Nieh said.

And experts said increased rainfall means more blooming flowers, feeding the bee population, which is not typically aggressive, but can be when feeling threatened.

So if you are swarmed by bees, "run away as far as you can, as fast as you can," Nieh said.

Run away, do not stay still or play dead. Cover your face and ears, and find shelter.

Experts also warn not to jump into water if you're being chased by bees because bees can wait for you to come up for air, and there's a likelihood you could drown.

The good news is the swarming season wraps up toward the end of the summer, when there isn't as much nectar for the bees to feed on.