A former Los Angeles police officer is healing after he, his dog and his daughters’ dogs were attacked by an angry swarm of bees on Saturday.
Bob Ramos of Diamond Bar, California, told KTLA on Tuesday that the bees he encountered in his backyard were in “attack mode” and that the dogs had ripped through a screen door trying to escape.
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While his dog, a chocolate Labrador named Rolo, survived the incident, the two smaller dogs named Maggie and Allie did not.
“I keep trying to convince myself that I did … I did everything I could do,” Ramos said.
According to KABC, Ramos was stung almost 50 times trying to rescue the pets and had to be taken to the hospital.
The station reported that the bees came from a neighbor’s hive that had been knocked over, sending the insects into a frenzy.
“It’s the worst thing that I’ve ever seen,” Ramos told them. “It was a swarm and they were so aggressive … they were very aggressive and agitated.”
Bees usually swarm in the spring, and either do so after a hive splits to form a new colony or the bees abandon the hive.
While many swarms are not dangerous and bees are not as defensive as they are around their hive, people who encounter the swarms are advised not to agitate the insects.
The use of products like insecticide on or around the bees can have the opposite intended effect in addition to harming the bees.
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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that during the 17 years from 2000 to 2017, a total of 1,109 deaths from hornet, wasp and bee stings occurred, with an annual average of 62 deaths and the most deaths recorded in 2017.
Around 80% of those deaths were among males.