Bee attacks: How to protect yourself and your family

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Spring time brings many things, including bees -- lots and lots of bees. When disturbed, bees can become extremely aggressive, leading to out-of-control swarms and dangerous -- potentially deadly -- attacks.

Emily Brown, also known as the AZ Queen Bee, specializes in bee removal. She says honeybees travel in thousands during swarming season, which is now.

"This time of year, the nectar is really flowing," she said. "We have tons of wildflowers in bloom, the citrus starts to bloom. That nectar flow is an incentive for bees' population to increase. They're scouting out new places to live. ... A lot of times, you don't know where these swarms are going to next."

According to Brown, who is a member of the American Beekeeping Federation and currently the “Resident Beekeeper” for the Boulders Resort in North Scottsdale, bees like to lurk in places you might never consider, including irrigation boxes and grills that have small slots in their covers or lids.

"They don't need a very large opening," she explained. "They can quickly form a honeycomb on the top of the grill and find this a very suitable habitat."

Small storage sheds and cabinets, cement walls with their nooks and crannies, and even overturned pots also can provide tempting homes for bees.

Because it's impossible to predict where bees will set up housekeeping, the best thing you can do is be alert.

"If you do see a steady stream of bees, you know that they've found some place that they want to start building a honeycomb and staying for a longer period of time," Brown said.

If you do spot a bee colony, leave it alone and call in the professionals. You don't want to risk agitating the bees and possibly triggering a swarm.

Also, if you know you or somebody in your home is allergic to bee poison, it's a good idea to keep a sting kit, including an EpiPen, handy. Such kits require a prescription so be sure to talk to your doctor.

For more information or to contact Brown, check out or call 602-881-9877.