LARGO — A swarm of bees killed a pit bull tied up outside its owner's home on Monday.
Lisa Pham heard her 18-month-old dog, Mimi, yelping and ran outside her mobile home to find a yellow-and-black swarm.
Pham grabbed a hose and turned it on the bees.
A few of them broke off from the dog and attacked her, leaving stings on her forehead and on the back of her head.
So she went inside and called the Police Department, which summoned the Fire Department, which came to the scene at 646 Egret Way in Largo just after noon.
Fire rescuers suited up and retrieved the dog, taking her to a local animal hospital where she died.
Pham was told by the veterinarian that her dog suffered more than 1,000 stings and died of cardiac arrest. It's unclear what provoked the bees to attack.
The hive appeared to be underneath a mobile home next door.
"I've cried so much I don't think I can cry anymore," Pham said Monday night as she waited for a bee exterminator.
Her daughter, Ashlee Pham, 12, said she broke down crying when she saw her dead dog. She said the dog was a gift from her father.
The Pham family — including three children — moved from Biloxi, Miss., to the Whispering Pines Mobile Home Park in Largo after Hurricane Katrina.
Largo police Lt. Mike Loux said it was unclear what type of bees were responsible for the attack. His patrol officers reported them as honeybees, but neighbors told the Pham family that Africanized bees, sometimes referred to as "killer bees," have been spotted in the area.
It's hard to tell a European honeybee from an Africanized bee by looking at them. Africanized bees are slightly smaller than European bees, but the difference is visible only with a microscope in a lab.
One of the more brutal animal deaths involved a 900-pound horse in Hendry County that died in 2005 when more than 1,000 Africanized bees attacked it. Four pounds of bees were found in the horse's stomach.