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Swarm of up to 40,000 bees in Pasadena sends 5 people to the hospital with stings

Swarm of bees in Pasadena
A swarm of bees that had been living in a hive on the Howard Johnson hotel on Colorado Boulevard sent five people to the hospital Thursday afternoon.
(Pasadena Fire Department)

Thousands of bees swarming near Pasadena City College sent five people to the hospital with stings and shut down Colorado Boulevard on Thursday afternoon.

About 4 p.m., firefighters responded to a call of a person who was stung by a bee near Colorado Boulevard and North Sierra Bonita Avenue.

Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said first responders saw a “huge influx of bees” about a block long buzzing around both sides of the street.

An apiarist called to the scene estimated there were 30,000 to 40,000 bees and told authorities the colony was made up of Africanized bees, Derderian said.

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“We have firefighters who have been working here for many, many years, and they said this is by far the most bees they’ve seen at one location,” Derderian said.

The colony was living between the eaves and roof of the Howard Johnson hotel on Colorado Boulevard.

The bees wounded at least six people, including one firefighter stung more than 15 times. Two firefighters, one police officer and two civilians were taken to a hospital, and one civilian declined transport.

Authorities shut down Colorado Boulevard near Pasadena City College for a few hours and urged students, faculty and staff at the college to stay indoors.

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The apiarist worked with firefighters to remove the bees, using a ladder truck to reach the colony before spraying carbon dioxide and foam into the nest.

The apiarist will return to the hotel Friday to ensure that none of the bees are living in the walls of the hotel.


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