Mark Fagan with the Florida Department of Agriculture says Africanized honey bees have killed 17 people in the U.S., and those same type of bees may have killed a pet Rottweiler in West Park Thursday evening.
"The venom is no stronger than the European, but the number of stings. For instance, 1,500 stings will kill a 150-pound human, and there have been 17 human deaths associated with Africanized honey bees since their introduction into the U.S. back in 1990," he said. "They are much more aggressive in defending their hives."
Fagan said Africanized honey bees will travel up to one-quarter mile to defend their hives.
Swarm of bees kill Rottweiler
Robert Denmark was washing Rico, his 6-year-old Rottweiler, when a swarm of bees attacked them.
"I was out bathing the dog and the bees just swarmed me," said Denmark. "That was my friend, man's best friend."
A witness called 911 and fire rescue arrived.
"I tried to light a fire to get the bees off my dog," said Denmark. "They swarmed him, they swarmed me, too. Probably 1,000 bit me all in the face. The only thing I could do was run."
Denmark took Rico to the veterinarian, where the dog died.
"If it can kill that dog, it could kill a small child," said Denmark. "It is a very serious thing."
Rolando Calzadilla of Bird & Bee Removal then arrived and sprayed a tree trunk with insecticide smoke and dust. The bees came from a nearby property.
"When the smoke got in there, it was like a helicopter because they were buzzing a lot," said Calzadilla. "Chances are, they are Africanized because of their behavior. You can tell the difference."
According to a bee expert, the bees' aggressive behavior suggests they could be Africanized honey bees instead of European honey bees. The expert said there is no way to tell unless one is inspected under a microscope.