Just after 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Northwest Fire District was called to a private pool located near Ina Road and La Cholla Boulevard after a reported bee swarm had attacked swimmers and parents during swim meet practice and private lessons.
The pool is home to the Saguaro Aquatics Swim program, which includes swim lessons as well as numerous swim teams. The address is 2045 W. Omar Crews arrived to find a 38-year-old male swim instructor that had been stung numerous times about the head and face.
Five other victims, including students and parents of the swim school also had been stung. There were approximately 12-15 people in the pool area at the time of the attack. The swim instructor has a history of reactions with bee stings and was considered the highest priority patient. The patient was treated at the scene and then refused transport for continued evaluation.
The five remaining victims were evaluated at the scene, but denied any symptoms of a reaction and were not transported.
As Northwest Paramedics were evaluating patients, the remaining crews searched the area and were able to locate the hive. The swarm had taken up residence in an old tree stump just west of the pool area. A previous attempt by an unknown source to seal up the hive entrance proved unsuccessful. After crews used firefighting foam to eliminate the hive and render the area safe, they found an expansion type insulation foam had been used in an attempt to “plug” the hole, but over time, the bees were able to construct a new entrance/exit.
Northwest Fire encourages everyone to be vigilant when bees are swarming. Stay clear of the area, and contact a professional bee removal service as needed. Never attempt to handle a bee hive on your own. Previous attempts by homeowners have resulted in structure fires (while trying to smoke out the bees as seen on TV) and multiple stings to the would-be exterminator.
This is the third large-bee swarm response for the Northwest Fire District this spring, and the first with multiple patients.