A southern Arizona hog farmer said Thursday that she watched in horror as thousands of bees swarmed a 1,000-pound hog during an attack that lasted about two hours.
"I went out three times to hose him down," June Hewitt told The Associated Press. "The very last time I went, he lifted his head when I called his name, flicked his ears, and that was the end."
Farmers were trying to move a hive that weighed around 200 pounds when about 250,000 Africanized bees swarmed like a black cloud and attacked animals and workers, KOLD-TV reported. Hewitt said the attack killed her male pig, Franklin. An 800-pound pregnant sow nearby also was stung so many times that she went into a coma and lost her litter.
"It was very unpleasant," said Hewitt, who lives in the town of Bisbee near the Mexican border.
Bee expert Reed Booth said Franklin had no chance because Africanized bees had spread pheromones all over the farm animals, riling up other bees.
"The pigs started getting stung, and the pheromone was on the pig and that was the target area for the rest of the bees," Booth said. "So the rest of the bees went completely goofy and killed that poor pig. We watched him take his last breath."
Booth said he can't explain why the bees are so agitated this year.
"It doesn't make any rhyme or reason," Booth said. "I've been doing this over 20 years. For some reason, this year, they're (Africanized bees) just going completely insane."
Bee attacks aren't limited to the southern part of the state. A 49-year-old man in northern Arizona remained hospitalized after he was stung more than 1,000 times on Sunday. Yavapai County authorities say DeWayne Spires disturbed bees nesting under a cattle trough.