CREATED Apr. 4, 2013 - UPDATED: Apr. 5, 2013
Reporter: Maggie Vespa
Web Producer: Rikki Mitchell, Sara Wright
SAHUARITA, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Experts will remove a massive bee hive today from a Sahaurita home, estimated to house 50,000 Africanize bees.
It's sad reminder of just how serious the sting of spring really is. For the first time this season, a bee attack took a life Thursday night. A Sahuarita family lost a beloved family pet.
Capt. Grant Cesarek with the Rural/ Metro Fire Department tells 9OYS, around 6 p.m. the bees swarmed and attacked three dogs at a home near South Paseo Campo Verde & Rancho Sahuarita.
Cesarek says neighors intervened and called 9-1-1.
The homeowner took the dogs to the vet, but one of them has died.
Crews arrived on scene and had to foam the swarm.
They then called in bee remover Pat McCracken.
He says he couldn't believe what he saw.
"I believe my exact phrase was 'Holy cow!'" he said. "I started pulling honey comb, and I got my flashlight. Once I got a piece of honeycomb removed I could see inside, and it just kept going."
McCracken says the hive, located in the attic, is about 3 feet x 3 feet x 8 feet.
It was likely growing there for years.
He estimates it houses 50 thousand African honey bees, nicknamed "killer bees", many of which swarmed and attacked the family's three dogs.
9OYS spoke to one neighbor, who jumped in to help.
"I saw the dogs trying to dig right under the gates, trying to get out of the fence, but they were in a swarm of bees all over," said David Romero. "The bee started attacking me, so I couldn't get close to them."
The family was too distraught to speak with 9OYS.
Capt. Cesarek says they only suffered a few stings and are staying with friends.
McCracken says to get the bees out, he'll have to go in though the home's roof.
He estimates removing the hive will take at least 4 to 6 hours.
He plans to begin bright and early Friday morning.