Keep Your Pets Safe From Bees & Wasps During Swarming Season
Outdoor pets are at a disadvantage when it comes to protection from stinging insects (bees, wasps, hornets). Usually our furry companions are confined to a backyard or tethered to a stationary object, limiting their ability to escape from sting attacks.
Several tragic bee attack stories involving pets have occurred recently in California, Arizona, and other parts of the country as bee swarming season begins and continues until May. During this time, it is our duty as a pet owner to take extra precaution and steps to ensure the safety of our pets.
Here are some guidelines to consider for maximizing the protection of your canine or feline friend while they roam the outdoors.
- Inspect your Home For Bee Activity – Nearby hives can easily be agitated by the movement or barking of your pet. Search for bee activity near roof eaves, in trees, irrigation boxes, or any other type of object that provides shelter in your yard. Verify with your neighbors that a hive does not exist on their property.
- Place Pets Indoors During Yard Work Or Construction – The noise and vibration from lawn machinery can provoke a bee nest. An attack can occur from a hidden hive while this machinery is running, leaving your pet in the line of fire. Having your pet indoors while work is taking place in your yard can prevent your pet from being stung.
- Use neutral-colored collars and non- or mild-scented shampoos – Bees are attracted to bright colors and flowery scents as this reminds them of a pollen-producing flower. Make your pet less susceptible to stings by using plain flea collars and lightly-scented shampoos or sprays.
- Let Your Pets Roam Freely In Your Yard – As of Jan. 1st, 2007, it is unlawful to tie up a dog for more than three hours. Not only is it against the law (among plenty of other negatives), it makes them a stationary target and decreases their chance to successfully flee from bees. If you do need to tether your dog up for a short while, make sure they are within your vision.
- Carry An Injectable Epinephrine & Capsule-Form Benadryl – If your pet is stung, you will be able to immediately counter any allergic reactions with Epinephrine (EpiPen) or Benadryl. Benadryl capsules can be dismantled and the powder inside administered orally. Check with a veterinarian on dosage amounts and application per your pet’s size.
Honeybees are not out to harm, but can attack when threatened. A swarm of European honeybees are usually harmless. It is not until they have established a hive that they will become more prone to attack a perceived threat.
Africanized Honeybees are more aggressive and can attack in any circumstance. The physical appearance between these two types of honeybees is indistinguishable, so if you spot a swarm or hive of bees, treat them as if they are an Africanized colony.
So as honeybees become more active during swarming season, apply these tips regularly in the care of your pet so that they remain safe and sting-free!