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Orange County

13 in Santa Ana Stung as 120,000-Plus Bees Attack

August 13, 2004|Joel Rubin | Times Staff Writer

More than 120,000 bees laid siege to a Santa Ana neighborhood Thursday afternoon, stinging residents, firefighters and news reporters, authorities said.

After living relatively quietly in a wall of a two-story apartment building in the 900 block of south Cypress Avenue for about two years, the bees poured into the neighborhood when boys threw rocks at the hives, fire officials said.

Firefighters responded to calls from frantic neighbors shortly after 2 p.m. and cordoned off a four-block area. They then tried to keep the bees at bay with streams of water until a professional beekeeper arrived about an hour later.

"It was pandemonium," said Santa Ana fire Capt. Steve Horner.

"Everywhere you looked, bees were attacking."

A mother and daughter, who were both stung multiple times, were treated for allergic reactions to the stings and taken to a hospital.

An unlucky jogger was caught wearing only shorts, Horner added.

In all, 13 people were stung, including seven firefighters and two reporters.

The beekeeper disposed of most of the 120,000-plus bees by subduing them with a chemical spray, then vacuuming them up.

About 500 pounds of honey was discovered in the apartment walls, Horner said.

Fire officials said residents had used foam in an attempt to plug holes used by the bees to enter the wall, but had never reported the problem to authorities.

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