Encino bee attack: Bee swarm defense tips from an expert

Earlier this week, a Los Angeles Police Department volunteer was seen on live TV, attacked by a group of bees, after those same bees attacked another person outside an Encino home. Both people were sent to the hospital, and the LAPD volunteer also fractured an eye socket as he fell to the asphalt during the attack. 

Local bee experts say this time of year is particularly busy for them, especially after the rain California got this spring. Eli the bee guy has dealt with unwanted hives and bee swarm reports in the San Fernando Valley, and it turns out, most bee encounters don't have to end up with stings. 

Here's what he recommends:

First, don't swat. That's the first and probably most difficult thing to do when you run into bees. But it works. Eli said it's swarm season, which means many new queens are leaving old colonies looking for homes, so it's common to see the group, sometimes resting on a sidewalk or the side of a house. They have no honey, and you can usually walk right past them without issue.

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The problem with bees comes when you approach, and the insects start buzzing around yo and "tapping" you as Eli described it. That tapping is actually a warning. The bees are trying to let you know that you may be too close. If you swat at them, you become the aggressor, and that's when the stinging begins.

Another good tip is, if you find yourself near bees, stop breathing as you walk away. The carbon dioxide humans breathe out bothers bees, and if you don't breathe, the bees are less likely to get angry. Humans' sweat, especially if we're nervous, can also send bees the wrong signal.

Eli also suggested almond oil extract. He said he carries a bottle with him. It won't stop the storm, he said, but they definitely avoid the spray. If you're going hiking in the woods, don't wear perfumes, scented deodorants or things that could attract bees, confusing you for a flower with pollen. 

For more tips, you can check out Eli's website elithebeeguy.com, or his social media accounts. 

The most important tip though, is to leave the bees be. Without them, California wouldn't b the produce capital of the country.