Spring in the desert brings out people, bees and snakes

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Spring in the desert has a way of bringing even the most indoorsy of us outside. But we aren't the only ones drawn out as Hope Sanders and her grandmother found out.

They were walking near Skunk Creek in North Phoenix when a rattlesnake bit her, sending her to the hospital with the bite marks to prove it.

"Be aware that they seem to already be out this year," said Captain Scott Walker of the Phoenix Fire Department, discussing snakes. "It does seem a little bit early."

Snakes, like the rattler that sank its fangs into Hope, are out. Phoenix Fire says if you see one, your best defense is to avoid it, give it space, and move on.

The advice is similar for another spring problem -- bees.

"We're in the bee season. Basically March, April, May are the busiest times for bees," Walker explained.

They, too, seem to have started the season early. Bees brought a spring training game to a halt when a swarm made Salt River Fields its temporary home a few weeks ago. Stadium staff evacuated that section; firefighters say that was the right move.

"Bees attack for two reasons -- because they're defending their hive or they feel threatened and it's a self defense attack," Walker said. "So, if you can go by them and not bother them, they should not bother you."

That's something to remember whether they're in your front yard or out on the trail.