Only four weeks ago, the Julian family was celebrating their dog Pixie, who had just given birth to a litter of puppies. But their joy turned to sorrow when four of the 4-week-old puppies were killed by bees on March 14.
According to AZFamily.com, a swarm of bees unexpectedly attacked the dogs in the family’s backyard. Esther Julian and her 1-year-old daughter were also stung, but the mother focused on calling for help and getting the pups to a veterinarian.
A fire crew arrived on the scene and recovered five of the pit bull puppies as well as the mother, reports AZCentral. One puppy, named Bullet, is still missing, and sadly, two of the pups died at the vet. Julian brought home Pixie and her three surviving babies, but two more died that evening.
“It was really sad and emotional,” Julian told The Arizona Republic. “Because we thought they were going to make it, and we had hope for the puppies to make it.”
Julian named the remaining puppy “Lucky.” Mama dog Pixie and her lone pup are doing well considering their ordeal.
Lucky is “doing perfectly fine,” Julian said. “He slept through the whole night. He’s been eating really well.”
In the aftermath of the puppy tragedy, Julian hired an exterminator to get rid of the Africanized honeybees (also known as “killer bees”), although she tells AZCentral the removal of the honeycomb was an extra cost and so it remains in her backyard.
Meanwhile, the exterminator tells AZFamily that the clutter in the backyard may have attracted the swarm of around 30,000 bees in the first place.
“A lot of empty soda cans here, which the bees like to feed off the sugar,” the exterminator told the site.
The bee swarms, which are not uncommon in Arizona, are typically most active in May and June.
USDA Honey Bee Research in Tucson recommends the following tips if you come in contact with these bees:
Run away quickly. Do not stop to help others with the exception of small children and the disabled who may need some assistance.
As you are running, pull your shirt up over your head to protect your face, but make sure it does not slow your progress. This will help keep the bees from targeting the sensitive areas around your head and eyes.
Do not stop running until you reach shelter, such as a vehicle or building. A few bees may follow you indoors. If you can run to a well-lit area, the bees may become confused and fly into windows.
Do not jump into water. The bees will wait for you to come up for air. If you are trapped somewhere, cover up with blankets, sleeping bags, clothes or whatever is nearby.
Do not swat the bees or flail your arms. Bees are attracted to movement and crushed bees emit a smell that will attract more bees.
Once you have reached safety, remove the stingers. When a honey bees stings, it leaves its stinger in the skin. This kills the bee but it allows venom to penetrate the wound for a short time.
Do not pull stingers with tweezers or your fingers. This will squeeze more venom into the wound. Instead, scrape the stinger out sideways using your fingernail, the edge of a credit card, a dull knife blade or other straight-edged object.
If you see someone being attacked by bees, encourage them to run or seek shelter. Do not attempt to rescue them yourself. Call 911.