Glendale firefighters: Heat wave means bee activity on the rise

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The warmer weather in the Valley has brought out the bees. (Source: Rupert Trischberger via 123RF) The warmer weather in the Valley has brought out the bees. (Source: Rupert Trischberger via 123RF)

Glendale Fire Department warned the public about an increase in bee activity as temperatures continue to heat up throughout the state.

Firefighters respond to "dozens" of bee related calls every year, according to a news release from the Glendale Police Department.

One of those calls came last year from Mayor Jerry Weiers who was doing yard work when he was swarmed by bees. Weiers ran to his garage for safety as the bees continued to follow and sting him. His wife, Sandy, took out more than 20 stingers, according to the news release.

[RELATED: Bees on the rise across the Valley]

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 100 people die each year from bee or wasp stings. Most of these deaths are due to anaphylactic reaction, which occurs when a person's immune system overreacts after it mistakes an allergen for a foreign substance, according to the news release.

[RELATED: Bees begin to buzz the Valley]

According to the Glendale Fire Department, the following safety tips could prevent a trip to the hospital or calling 911:

  • Keep pets and children indoors when using weed eaters, hedge clippers, lawn mowers, chain saws, etc. Bee attacks happen frequently when a person is mowing the lawn or pruning shrubs and inadvertently strikes a nest.
  • If you encounter a swarm, run as quickly as you can in a straight line away from the bees. Get indoors as soon as possible. If you aren't near a building, get inside the nearest car or shed. Close the doors and windows to keep the bees from following you.
  • Because bees target the head and eyes, cover your head as much as you can without slowing your escape.
  • Avoid excessive motion when near a colony. Bees are much more likely to respond to an object on the move.
  • Don't jump into a pool or other body of water to avoid the bees. They can and will wait for you to surface, and will sting you as soon as you do. You can't hold your breath long enough to wait them out, trust me.
  • If someone else is being stung by bees and cannot run away, cover them with anything you can find. Do what you can to quickly cover any exposed skin or susceptible areas of their body, and then run for help as fast as you can.
  • Once you are in a safe place, use a blunt object to scrape any stingers out of your skin. 
  • If you were stung just once or a few times, treat the stings as you would regular bee stings and carefully monitor yourself for any unusual reactions. Wash the affected sites with soap and water to avoid infections. Use ice packs to reduce swelling and pain. Of course, if you are allergic to bee venom, seek medical attention immediately.
  • If you suffered multiple stings, seek medical attention immediately.

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