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Ceres Bee Colony Attacks Beekeeper, Neighbor, Two Dogs

CERES -- A driveway covered with more than a dozen dead bees, a reminder of the night 45 Ceres families had on Sunday.

“They’re bizarre, they’re flying around in motion so you don’t see that around this area,” neighbor Edgar Lopez said.

Sunday night on River Valley Circle, the issue turned deadly. Ceres Fire investigators said a swarm of bees went after their owner.

“For an unknown reason, unknown to him or to us, when he attempted to harvest the honey the bees became very aggressive,” said Battalion Chief Rich Scola with the Ceres Fire Department.

Also caught in the attack, a neighbor and his two pit bulls and a firefighter. All the men are OK but the bee stings killed one of the dogs.

Chief Scola said the bee owner was trying to harvest honey when the swarm grew angry. He said that beekeeping is only allowed in the city with a special permit.

“It’s a weird situation you normally don’t hear stuff around… stuff like that around this area,” Lopez said.

Families were warned to stay indoors because of the danger.

Jon Campidonica said one of those angry bees flew toward his neck while he was in his backyard.

“Basically, I kind of killed it. But I could already tell the stinger was out,” Campidonica said.

A bee specialist was called and he took care of the thousands of bees within five hours. They were euthanized in a rural area.

“To make sure that if there was any aggressive nature within that colony that they were destroyed and they were not able to repopulate somewhere else,” Scola said.

Scola added the other dog was rushed to a pet hospital in Modesto. They are not aware of the animal’s latest condition.

He also stressed that if you see a bee hive, do not destroy it, spray water on it, or touch it. Please call a professional beekeeper.

The Ceres Police Department said they will not seek charges against the beekeeper.