File This Under “Awful News”: Swarm of Bees Kills a Rottweiler in Florida

The dog was getting a shampoo in the yard when the bees descended, attracted to the smell.


A terrible story came out of Florida last week, as a six-year-old Rottweiler named Ricco was attacked by a swarm of bees. His owner, Robert Denmark, 65, was able to rescue his dog and take him to the vet, but the dog later died.

It all started when Denmark was washing his dog in the backyard. The bees swarmed out of a tree in a nearby yard and headed right for Ricco, drawn by the shampoo, according to the Sun Sentinel.

“They started getting on [Ricco] because the shampoo I was using was attracting them to him,” Denmark said. “I didn’t know a nest was over there and all of a sudden they just started swarming down and they just covered my face.”

Denmark fought for his dog. He turned the hose on the bees, getting stung himself, but the bees weren’t affected.

“They swarmed him, they swarmed me, too. Probably 1,000 bit me all in the face. The only thing I could do was run,” he told

Then Denmark had the idea to use fire.

“The only way I got them off me was I lit a fire,” he said. “I went in my shed and got some mineral spirits and poured it on a rag and lit it and waved it.”

Demark called 911, and firefighters, too, were confronted by the swarm.

“They rescued the man and got him to safety,” said fire rescue spokesman Mike Jachles. “The dog was stung numerous times [and Denmark] drove the dog to the vet, but unfortunately the dog didn’t make it.”

Neighbor Beatrice Rivera called Rolie Calzadilla with Bird and Bee Removal to get rid of the hive, which he found in a void in the base of the tree trunk. He used an insecticide smoke.

“The smoke penetrates everything,” he said. “When the smoke got in it sounded like a helicopter in the hive.”

Calzadilla figures that there were upwards of 50,000 bees in the hive.

The neighbor who owned the tree said he had no idea it contained a hive. “When I got home I saw all the commotion and heard about the neighbor who got bit, then I heard about the dog that died,” Willie Rivera said. “I felt really bad about what happened.”

This is the second such attack in Florida in recent years. In 2008, bees attacked Palm Beach County resident Nancy Hill and her three dogs. Hill survived. Her dog, all three of them, died.

Calzadilla wasn’t able to confirm that the bees that killed Ricco are the more aggressive Africanized honey bees, but he suspects they are.

Via Sun Sentinel

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