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Huntington Beach woman hospitalized after being attacked by a swarm of bees

A woman was hospitalized with multiple stings after a swarm of bees attacked her in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, authorities said.

The Huntington Beach Fire Department received a call shortly after 9 a.m. and arrived to find bees “swarming all over” the woman, said Capt. Robert Culhane.

“They were really aggressive. As soon as we came on, they started coming after us,” Culhane said. He suspected the insects were Africanized honeybees because of their size and aggression. Instead of stinging immediately, the bees would fly into the victim, firefighters or other targets repeatedly, he said.

Firefighters tried to deter the bees with a water-foam mixture — the foam strips the bees of their ability to fly, Culhane said. When they were able to approach the victim, they found even more bees “meshed into the hair,” he said.

The firefighter operating the hose was stung twice but did not need medical attention, Culhane said.

“I’ve never been on a call like that before,” said Culhane, a 28-year firefighting veteran. “They seemed more aggressive than what I was used to.”

The woman was in her 40s, and her condition was unknown, said Huntington Beach Fire Capt. Steve Teasdale.

A Public Works employee examined the area after the attack and didn’t find any bees, Culhane said. People who are swarmed should stay calm, and call 911 if in need of medical attention.

Reach Sonali Kohli at Sonali.Kohli@latimes.com or on Twitter @Sonali_Kohli.

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