Pasadena fire crews used a fire extinguisher on a bee hive located in the roof corner of a four-story Howard Johnson building.
Police and firefighter/paramedics from Pasadena, California responded Thursday afternoon, February 20, 2020 to an EMS call for a bee sting, and the incident soon escalated to a call at about a Level 1 Hazmat scale. When police and firefighter/paramedics arrived at the scene of the Howard Johnson hotel at 1599 East Colorado Boulevard, they discovered that the block of Colorado Boulevard between South Bonnie Avenue and North Sierra Bonita Avenue was involved with a swarm of bees.
The first firefighter on the scene was reported to have been stung about 17 times. In a short time the firefighters realized a swarm of bees covered the block.
According to bee expert John E. Eckert, bees have been found to orient themselves in a circle of about 2.5 miles around their hive. Sometimes they might range out about 3 to 4 miles, but a distance up to about 7.4 miles is considered an exceptional condition.
Firefighters worked with a professional beekeeper, requested to respond to the scene, and found the hive at or near the roof of a 4-story Howard Johnson hotel.
The firefighters and the professional beekeeper climbed a ladder to remove the hive, spraying the bees with CO2 and foam extinguishers. Some bees were killed, and some escaped; but the hive was removed so that the bees could not return.
Seven people were stung; five people, including two firefighters and a police officer, needed medical treatment and were transported to a hospital Thursday afternoon.
A police officer assisting the fire department with crowd and traffic control was also stung multiple times.
There was concern the bees were Africanized bees, but initially CARDINAL NEWS was unable to get a confirmation from an apiary or entymology expert.
Eckert, JE, The flight range of the honeybee, Journal of Agricultural Research, v. 47, no. 8, p 257-285 (1933)
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