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Tue, Feb. 19
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Africanized bees kill dog, sting neighbors

Glynn Brandon, who lives on Roadrunner Drive, shows what is left of the Africanized beehive that was in his water meter case by his mailbox. The bees were eradicated Friday after they attacked people in the neighborhood. <i>Trib Photo/Jerry J. Herrmann</i>

Glynn Brandon, who lives on Roadrunner Drive, shows what is left of the Africanized beehive that was in his water meter case by his mailbox. The bees were eradicated Friday after they attacked people in the neighborhood. <i>Trib Photo/Jerry J. Herrmann</i>

For at least a month Glynn Brandon unknowingly walked by an Africanized bee hive in his water meter's case.

Brandon and his neighbors got a rude awakening Friday morning, when some water from a hose a neighbor was using evidently hit the meter, stirring up the bees.

The bees stung Brandon's neighbor at least seven times, and stung the neighbor's daughter several times before they were able to get in their house.

The bees then zeroed in on the Brandons' two dogs. The youngest one jumped the fence and fled with some of the bees in pursuit. The rest attacked the Brandons' oldest dog, which Brandon's wife found in the doghouse Friday night. It died about 12 hours after the Brandons took it to the veterinarian.

A few minutes after Brandon's young dog fled, Jamie Anderson, an employee at Bobcat of Yavapai, saw it running by the business. Shortly thereafter, the dog czame inside the business. Anderson was able to get the Brandons phone number off its tag, and called them to let them know their dog was loose. A short time later another person who knew the dog called the Brandons, also.

Both Brandon and his wife work, so they weren't home when the bee attack occurred around 8:45 a.m. Brandon said that was a good thing, because he is allergic to bee stings.

The Central Yavapai Fire District responded to a call about the bees. Firefighters sprayed foam on the meter case. They were still spraying the colony when Brian Kelly arrived.

Kelly, who is the town's bee man, said he has been ridding the town of unwanted beehives or swarms since 1998, when the Africanized bees arrived.

"With the number of people who were stung, two taken by ambulance to the hospital, two dogs attacked with one dying, this is the worst bee attack we've had since I started working with them," Kelly said.

The other two most severe attacks were when two children were attacked on Wagon Wheel in 1998, and when the town had to close Sunflower Park in 2001.

"This is the only time the ambulance has been called and a pet died," he said.

Kelly said it took him about 30 minutes to make sure the bees in the colony were dead.

He then barricaded the area leaving only one lane on Roadrunner for traffic. He and the firemen also went door to door telling the residents to avoid their front yards and to use their backyards instead.

The Brandons said they were upset that firemen didn't notice the sign in the front window notifying emergency personnel to rescue their pets in case of an emergency. The firemen weren't available for comment at presstime.

That afternoon Kelly killed some more of the hive's scout bees. Saturday morning he patrolled the area to make sure the coast was clear before taking down the tape on Roadrunner.

This is the fourth beehive Kelly has eradicated this summer. Residents have called him out to eradicate 12 swarms this summer. Other summers, he has eradicated up to 150 bee swarms. Kelly said he had no reason for the decrease in swarms this summer.

He said OMI crews handle a lot of the beehives in the water meters. However, when there is a threat to health and safety as in this case, they call Kelly.

Brandon urges Prescott Valley residents to be more aware of what is going on around them to prevent a repeat of Friday's incident. He definitely will be.

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