Beekeepers concerned after bees sting 2 dogs to death in Concord

CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) -- For three days an East Bay neighborhood was attacked by what may have been Africanized bees. While extremely rare in the Bay Area, some beekeepers are now concerned this may not be the last of the killer bees.

They're not Africanized bees, which are smaller than the gentle European kind. However, they are still known to attack in large numbers.

This particularly aggressive hive sent people to the hospital and even stung two dog's to death.

WATCH LIVE: Concord police warn residents of swarm of aggressive bees

Concord police warned residents to stay away from Hitchcock Drive over the weekend.

This incident is extremely rare, but as Africanized bees move north, as they've done since 1956 from Brazil, they will intermix with our local bees, but there may be a way to control them.

Mount Diable Beekeepers Association Norm Lott is an expert in anything bee-related. He drove to Concord over the weekend to try and catch many bees believed to be Africanized. "For us in the area it was very extreme. They're not aggressive either, they're hyper defensive," he said.

Lott managed to catch several bees to take to UC Davis to verify their DNA.

These are not Africanized bees, which are smaller than the gentle European kind. Still they are known to attack in large numbers.

That's what happened last Friday to Alex Janke's son, an experienced beekeeper in Concord. The bees swarmed as soon as he opened the hive. "Then this swarm of bees remained in the neighborhood and they started getting everybody. They got me, they got my wife, they got my grandson," beekeeper's father Alex Janke said.

They aren't meant to be here but in 1956 the African bee from South Africa was brought to Brazil. Beekeepers there thought they could produce more honey. They ended up mating with the local bees becoming what is now known as the Africanized bees. They have been moving north ever since.

"They kind of slowed in coming up to our area. They kind of stalled in Bakersfield for a long time. In the last 150 miles it took about 10 years, but they are still progressing," Lott said.

Somehow these bees invaded the original hive. Once the hive was exposed, they began stinging people and killing two small dogs.

It took the owner of the hive three days to get rid of it. He said there is a way to manage the Africanized bees.

"It's kind of why we need more beekeepers is to be able to monitor that and then re-queen with a gentle queen," Lott said.

A gentle queen would then begin the process of recolonizing the hive.
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