Spring Rains Bring Bees to the Desert
Rains in springtime are unusual in Arizona, but this year there was a bit more moisture. Combined with a very mild winter, the conditions are just right to grow a thriving bee community in many parts of the state
Exterminators are hard at work containing large colonies found in yards and sheds. These bees are feral, or wild, and their population is doing well. Unlike commercially raised honeybees, feral bees are not dying in large numbers.
As a result of climate conditions, experts estimate there are two to three times as many wild honeybees flying around metropolitan areas than is normal this time of year.
The greater numbers mean more reports of bee-human contact, particularly in high population areas. In May, ten people received bee stings at a school in Scottsdale, and one child was hospitalized.
In early June, a Tucson man working outside his home in Oro Valley was stung over 2,000 times after entering his back yard shed. Golder Ranch Fire District Battalion Chief Will Seeley was on site and said the hive estimated 50,000 bees. "I've never heard or seen anything like that," he added. "They were inside the walls and membranes of the shed."
It is generally recommended to call a professional when removing any sizeable population of bees.