Rhea Mahbubani

Concord Neighborhood Terrorized by Bees is Safer: Authorities

An East Bay neighborhood terrorized by a swarm of aggressive bees over the weekend is safer now, authorities said.

Concord police told residents Sunday the bees have been mostly eradicated after an amateur beekeeper got rid of a hive Saturday night. A bee expert called to the neighborhood also declared the area safer. 

The bees began terrorizing the 3800 block of Hitchcock Drive on Friday, attacking residents, dogs and even a mail carrier. Concord police received a number of reports of "aggressive bees" in the area.

According to one neighbor, two dogs died as a result of numerous bee stings. 

Marya Pitravts of Concord said she felt like a hostage in her own home.

“It was like a horror movie,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

Pitravts was walking her dog Friday when they were attacked.

“It was crazy – they were coming after us,” she recounted. “My dog was rolling on the ground trying to shake them off. My hair was buzzing with them. … They were all over me.”

Even going inside her home didn’t help.

“They were really aggressive,” Pitravts said. “Boom! Boom! Boom! They were coming after me even through the window. It was nuts.”

Resident Alex Jenke, who was sent to the hospital with minor injuries from stings, says his son is an amateur beekeeper who was relocating hives when he noticed abnormally aggressive behavior. 

"He lifted the lid off the second hive, and they made this huge swarm..." he said. "My hair was buzzing with them. I had to shake my hand off. They were all over me."

Norman Lott, a beekeeper called out by the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District, said Pitravts isn’t alone.

“There were some dogs that were stung,” he said. “I guess one died – a small dachshund. There was a mail lady that had a hundred bees in her hair.”

According to Lott, who is with the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association, Friday’s incident serves as a “good wake-up call” as Africanized bees move into the area.

The breed of honeybees, also known as killer bees, was discovered for the first time in the Bay Area – in Martinez and Lafayette – in 2014. Although they look like regular honeybees, Africanized bees are far more deadly if their hives are disturbed.

Lott says once he finds the beehive he will decide whether it should be controlled or removed.

“This hive seems to be over the top so it probably needs to be eradicated,” he said.

Lott also cautioned that if a person gets stung, it’s important to stay calm, leave the area immediately and call the Vector Control District or a beekeeper to assess the situation.

“It’s much safer,” he said. “Unless you have your own suit, don’t do it.”

NBC Bay Area's Rhea Mahbubani and Stephen Ellison contributed to this report.

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