Weekend landscapers beware of critters - Tucson News Now

Weekend landscapers beware of critters

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

There were four bee attacks in the Tucson area in the past week, two of them fatal.

A landscaper was killed on Monday and a golfer was killed at the Rio Rico golf course Wednesday. That same day another landscaper was attacked at the Tubac Golf Course and is recovering in a Tucson hospital. A concert was delayed because of bees Thursday night.

The attacks are being blamed on an active monsoon, which has brought a near record amount of rain.

That hyper-active monsoon has caused other issues as well.

Plant growth is evident to anyone who has bushes, trees and weeds in their yards or along their driveways. That means, weekend landscapers will be out in full force to clean things up a bit around their homes Saturday and Sunday.

"Plants are growing, there's lots of landscaping going on," said Alex Corella, owner of Southwest Exterminating in Nogales. "A lot of weed whackers, lawn mowers."

While that may be agitating the bees, it was likely the case in the Rio Rico incident, it also opens the question what should homeowners do when trimming things this weekend.

"Safety first, absolutely," said Victor Estrada while trimming bushes in Oro Valley.

Estrada has been landscaping for three years and works for his father who has been at it for 25 years. He says this time of year, and especially in this weather, landscapers take extra precautions. He urges homeowners who may be thinking of doing their own work to do the same.

"Wear long sleeves in the heat, you don't want critters crawling up your arm," he said.

Wear protective shoes, not flop flops. No shorts either. He uses a rake to look under the bushes first, to check for rattlesnakes or other critters. Then he will jiggle the bush gently with the rake handle to see if any bees coming flying out. 

"Nothing too crazy," he said. 

And if bees do come out. 

"Stay a safe distance, stay indoors, call the experts," he said. "As long as you don't get scared, they'll leave you alone."

Which leads to the final decision. 

"Wait until next week, next month," he says to give the bees time to clear.

"They're just working and if you leave them alone, they'll probably just leave on their own," he said. 

So to sum it up.

"You look around, hear if there's any buzzing going on. Once you feel safe, walk around twice, you know double check, then get at it," he said.

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