MARICOPA, Ariz. – Six people were sent to the hospital Saturday afternoon after a swarm of bees attacked residents in a subdivision, the Maricopa, Arizona, fire department said.
The bees hit the Rancho El Dorado subdivision about 5 p.m. and attacked people in a two-block-long area, the department said in a news release. People ran and screamed for help.
Three adults and three children were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of the stings, the department said. One of the adults had nearly 300 bee stings counted at the hospital. Two firefighters who were also stung during the rescue did not need treatment at the hospital, the department said.
It took fire crews about two hours to find the hive in an opened water valve box at one of the homes, the department said. The bees were sprayed with foam, and the hive was contained and killed.
A particularly aggressive strain of honeybee menaced parts of Arizona during the summer, with some people getting stung so many times that they were hospitalized.
Experts say the state is dealing with the Africanized honeybee, also known as the killer bee, which is a crossbreed between the European honeybee and the African honeybee.
The killer bee is the result of experiments in Brazil decades ago, and the insects migrated to the U.S. The bees are more prevalent in warm Southwestern states such as Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. If their hives are disrupted, they become especially aggressive.