Bee expert gives tips after two fatal attacks - Tucson News Now

Bee expert gives tips after two fatal attacks

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)

By Janice Yu, Reporter 
and Chloe Persichetti, Tucson News Now intern 

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There have been three bee attacks across southern Arizona in a week, two of which were deadly. 

The one on Thursday, Aug. 3, happened at the Tubac Country Club. A landscaper was stung 25-50 times in the face and head area while he was working in a tree. 

He was taken to Carondolet Saint Mary's Hospital. 

Justin Schmidt, a scientist with the Department of Entomology at the University of Arizona, said the recent increase in bee attacks could be a result of the recent monsoon rain. 

"The result has been there has been a lot of bloom of flowers, which is not usual this time of year," Schmidt said. "There's a lot more food. A lot more food means a lot more bees and a lot more bees mean a lot bigger colonies - and that's when you have to be especially alert so you don't get into trouble."

So what does one do when encountered by bees? Schmidt gave his key tips on getting away safely:

  1. Hold your breath - "Because the bees - how they detect you is through your breath. Because that says there’s a big hot monster out there that's scary."
  2. Don’t swat at the bees - "Really repress that. When you flap, they say, 'Oh my goodness that's someone attacking me!' They see motion." 
  3. Run the opposite direction - Get inside a building, a car - any kind of structure to put a barrier between you and them. 

These three guidelines will help you not get stung - and possibly safe your life. 

Schmidt says that if you do get stung by a bee, get the stinger out as quickly as possible. 

Afterward, try and get salt or baking soda mixed with a liquid such as water, or Coca-Cola, and rub that on the sting. 

Rubbing an ice cube over the area will also help to numb the pain. 

If you are stung multiple times, seek help right away, as too many stings can turn deadly. 

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