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Identity sought for bees that stung, killed dog

Remains of bees litter the ground after their nest was destroyed by an exterminator. Bees from the nest killed a dog on Monday.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Remains of bees litter the ground after their nest was destroyed by an exterminator. Bees from the nest killed a dog on Monday.

LARGO — A day after her dog was stung more than 1,000 times and killed by a swarm of bees, Lisa Pham was still dealing with the fallout of Monday's attack.

An exterminator came to the Whispering Pines Mobile Home Park on Monday night and destroyed the nest beneath her neighbor's home. Pham said the exterminator estimated as many as 60,000 bees were at the nest.

A pet group also contacted Pham to offer to cremate Mimi, her pitbull mix, for free and to make a paw print for Pham's 12-year-old daughter, Ashlee.

The Florida Department of Agriculture sent a bee specialist on Tuesday to take samples of the bees to find out if they are European honey bees or their more aggressive Africanized cousins or some hybrid of the two.

"Until we analyze these bees in our lab to determine what degree of hybridization may have taken place, we really do not know," said Jerry Hayes, chief of apiary for the Florida Department of Agriculture.

His lab in Gainesville will examine the size and shape of the bees to figure out whether they are Africanized and to what extent.

To the untrained eye, the difference is impossible to tell, which is why anyone coming across bees in the wild needs to be careful, Hayes said.

It's behavior, not appearance, that distinguishes them, "and that is the scary thing," Hayes said. "You just never know what is going to happen."

Eric Jameson, state apiary inspector for the Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee and Hillsborough region, said this was the first time in his three years that he has had a report of a pet killed by bees.

Jonathan Abel can be reached at jabel@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4157.

Identity sought for bees that killed dog

Identity sought for bees that stung, killed dog 07/29/08 [Last modified: Thursday, July 31, 2008 3:22pm]
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