Africanized honey bees confirmed in June attack

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. - A swarm that attacked four hikers last month in northwest Joshua Tree National Park was identified as Africanized honey bees, an expert confirmed Friday.

DNA analysis of several bees was conducted, said San Bernardino County insect specialist Wakoli Wekesa. Wekesa said the so-called ''killer bees'' probably attacked when the hikers disturbed their hive or a resting spot.

''Bees rarely attack while swarming,'' Wekesa said. ''If you are attacked, run to a car or building and take cover. Bees may pursue you for a half mile.''

One of the hikers was stung more than 100 times and broke a leg falling down while running, and a fellow hiker was stung more than 50 times.

Wekesa said once stung, remove the bee's stinger by scraping with a fingernail, credit card or knife. Do not squeeze the stinger because pressure releases bee venom. Wash the sting with soap and water and apply an ice pack to relieve pain and swelling. Get medical help if allergic to bee stings, he added.

Joshua Tree National Park is located about 120 miles east of Los Angeles.


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