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Researcher: More bees present in Arizona this year

PHOENIX — An Arizona researcher are warning that if bees are nearby, and you’re not careful, it could be deadly.

Dr. Gloria Digrande-Hoffman, Research Director of the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson said you may be seeing more bees in Arizona for awhile.

“Whenever we have a year with good rains and lots of flowering plans, there’s a tendency for these colonies to get larger and to swarm and become more noticeable,” she said.

The body of 55-year-old Dr. Gregory Hess was found in southern Arizona on Monday. He had been hiking down a cliff in the are and was hanging on to a rope when he was attacked and killed by a swarm of bees. His dog was on the top of the cliff and was also stung to death. Hess was connected to the rope, which was hanging within a few feet of a beehive.

“These sting attacks usually happen when somebody encounters a colony, and accidentally does something that’s a major disturbance that provokes the nest defense behavior that causes the bees to come out and sting,” said Digrande-Hoffman.

If bees are about to attack, the best thing you can do is run. Digrande-Hoffman said most healthy people can run fast enough to get away from a bee attack. Most deaths happen when the victims aren’t in a position to run away.

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