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Bees terrorize Bay Area neighborhood

A hive of angry, displaced bees terrorized a Bay Area neighborhood over the weekend, sending two residents to the hospital and injuring two small dogs, according to authorities.

The Concord bee attacks were first reported Saturday morning in the 3800 block of Hitchcock Drive. The two people who were taken to the hospital for bee stings included a mail carrier and a resident. The two dogs each suffered some 50 stings, witnesses said.

Norman Lott, a beekeeper with the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Assn., also got a first-hand taste of the bees’ fury. One of the insects stung his face when he was called into the neighborhood to investigate.

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“I had a butt-to-face confrontation with that bee,” Lott said.

I had a butt-to-face confrontation with that bee.

Norman Lott, Mount Diablo Beekeepers Assn.

The bees likely became aggressive and disoriented when their hive was moved, Lott said. The “hot” hive was one of two hives found on the property of one home.

Lott was first called Friday to examine the swarm after a resident who lived two blocks away complained about the bees.

“There were a few bees in the area that were hitting and stinging a few people,” he said. “Nothing outrageous, but definitely not comfortable.”

He returned the next morning and finally pinpointed the location of the swarm. The bees, he said, were probably so disoriented that they didn’t know where to go next and ended up clustering.Concord police said the property owner worked with another local beekeeper to remove the remaining swarm of bees. By Sunday, the insects were gone.

Lott, 65, who has maintained beehives since he was 10, said he kept some of the confused bees. He plans to take the samples to UC Davis’ E.L. Niño Bee Lab or UC San Diego to determine whether these bees had any Africanized bee DNA. Large Africanized honey bees are known for their defensive behavior, and will vigorously protect their colonies and swarm more frequently.

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Staying in place, wearing light-colored clothing and remaining calm is the best way to avoid being stung, Lott said.

Also, don’t mess with a bee’s hive.

“You don’t poke a stick in a hole,” he said.

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