Caught on camera: Aggressive bees swarm, attack California man, neighbor's dog in growing trend

ByLeticia Juarez KABC logo
Monday, May 22, 2023
Bees swarm and attack Lake Matthews resident and neighbor's dog
Aggressive bees swarm a Lake Matthews residents and a dog. The dog had to be taken to the animal hospital to remove hundreds of stingers.

LAKE MATTHEWS, Calif. -- Thousands of bees and a massive hive were found nestled in a Southern California fence, ready for the attack.

On Tuesday, Lake Matthews homeowner Tommy Baker was trimming trees in preparation to remove an old fence when he stumbled on the bees.

"We were getting ready to replace our fence here and the fence guy came out took a look at it and we noticed we had a bee hive," said Baker.

Baker thought the hive would be small enough to remove and relocate himself. So, he watched a couple YouTube videos to learn how to and donned a beekeeping suit he had on hand.

"It got very intense. It got to the point I could not see very far in front of me there were so many bees just swirling around," he said.

Baker was recording when it happened. In the video, he runs for his golf cart and begins to drive away with the swarm hot on his heels.

"They followed me all the way around the block and this is a big block up here its probably a mile," recalled Baker.

As he was making his escape, a section of the swarm broke off making a beeline for his neighbor's yard and dog.

"I looked out back and it just looked like a cloud, a dark cloud moving across my backyard," said Bryan Engen, the neighbor who was attacked by the swarm of bees.

Engen's two-year-old Pitbull-Mastiff, Chance, was quickly surrounded by the angry swarm. In an attempt to flee the canine, he tried to knock down the front door. But when that failed, Chance made his way to the fence, slammed his body into the fence until the latching broke and ran.

"Once he opened the gate the swarm started to leave the yard. So, I ran out, chased him down, and got him into my neighbor's garage with them and started taking care of him at that point," said Engen.

Chance was rushed to an emergency veterinary clinic, was given pain medication and sedated so vet staff could remove hundreds of stingers.

"He was covered head to toe. Everywhere his tail, in his mouth around his mouth all over his head, yeah he got attacked really bad," said Egen.

A GoFundMe account has been setup to help the Engen family off set the bill for Chance's emergency care.

"It started out at about $500 initially and then it just continued to rise and rise. We're a small family with two kids. Its not something we can afford," said Egen.

The family is caring for Chance at home and is closely monitoring him for signs of distress.

As for the bees, Baker hired a professional beekeeper who removed four hives.

"The guy that removed the bees told me that these were Africanized bees. This wasn't normal bee behavior," said Baker.