killer bee Dangerous when agitated.

5 hospitalized after swarm of bees attacks

8 deaths were reported in Yucatán last year as a result of bee stings

A neighborhood of San Miguel in Cozumel was in virtual lockdown yesterday evening when residents came under attack — by a swarm of angry bees.

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Four members of a family in the CTM neighborhood were hospitalized after the bees entered their home and attacked about 6:00pm. A firefighter was also hospitalized, while the family’s three dogs died from multiple bee stings.

Authorities cordoned off several blocks to avoid further attacks, and urged residents to remain in their homes with doors and windows closed.

When firefighters were called to the scene they found the bees had focused their attack on one home, where the family, including two children aged nine and 14, remained trapped inside. They were rescued by emergency personnel and transferred to hospital.

Three hours the later the situation was under control after the bees were exterminated.

There were at least three reports of similar attacks in February in Quintana Roo and Yucatán.

Twelve people suffered multiple stings when a swarm of bees attacked a psychiatric hospital in Mérida in which they were working, while two were hospitalized in Playa del Carmen when a swarm attacked about a dozen people outside a shopping center in Santa Fe.

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In Cancún, three employees of a daycare center were attacked and hospitalized.

In all three cases the insects were described as Africanized bees, also known as killer bees.

Health authorities in Yucatán reported last month there were eight deaths in the state last year as a result of attacks by Africanized bees.

The insects are the result of a cross between European and African bees and combine the best and worst of both, according to Geo-Mexico. Once disturbed, they react 10 times faster than European bees and can pursue a human victim for as far as 300-400 meters.

An agitated Africanized bee will also attack anything it deems offensive as far as 400 meters from its hive, says a report on bee attacks in Mexico by the website Saudicaves, while another source reports they can stay angry for days.

Source: Diario de Quintana Roo (sp)

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