Family Loses Dog to Africanized Bees, Experts Explain Risks

Family Loses Dog to Africanized Bees, Experts Explain Risks

By Alicia Neaves

NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Two dogs in the past two weeks, falling victim to the smallest of predators, Africanized Bees. Experts say they are swarming in West Texas.

Tomeiya Haynes's neighbor came over to help mow the lawn in the backyard. As soon as he cranked the lawnmower, hundreds of Africanized Bees came swarming from the tree.

"We had the man mowing the lawn and they scared him up. They started attacking the man. Then the man took off running, and left the lawn mower running. They attacked the dog until the lawn mower ran out of gas," Tomeiya Haynes, who's dog "Socks" was killed by bees, said.

The family had no idea the bees lived there. Experts say the smell, noise and vibrations from the lawnmower posed as a threat to them.

"Often times the bees will go there, set up, and the homeowners aren't aware of it until they get to a point where they cause a problem," Tim Cleverdon, Owner of Bee Busters, said.

"Socks", the family's dog for 13 years, was the second canine in Odessa to fall victim to the bees in the last two weeks. He had over 200 stings.

"He couldn't even walk. He was trying to get up but he was having seizures, peeing out blood. It was horrible. He had a stroke too," Haynes said.

Doctor Ann Wills from West Texas Emergency Veterinary Clinic in Odessa treated both dogs. She tells NewsWest 9, in her six years in the area, she's never seen dogs attacked like this by bees. Before, they were brought with very few stings. These two had hundreds, and died within hours.

"I'm just thankful the kids didn't get attacked or anything," Haynes said.

Dark colors are antagonistic to bees, which is why they swarmed after Socks.

"The intensity is just very unique to the Africanized bees and that's what makes them so dangerous. They're like fire ants with wings, the best analogy I've come up with," Cleverdon said.

It can get serious, with several cities in West Texas reporting people falling victim to the Africanized Bees.

"I first saw them in 2004, and every year they've gotten a little bit worse, a little bit worse," Cleverdon said.

Are these bees life threatening? Experts say it depends on the person. For at-home remedies, check with your doctor. Benedryl or an EpiPen, used at a certain temperature, could help do the trick. And don't pull out the stings. Instead, scrape them to the side with your fingernail, or knife blade or a credit card.