A bee swarm outside Tucson Fire Station One downtown on Thursday, April 26, 2013. Courtesy Tucson Fire Dept.

Submitted Photo

We aren't the only ones who find spring flowers attractive. They're also quite the buzz with bees.

This is the time of year that bees tend to swarm and defend their territory, presenting dangers for people and pets. Bees tend to get aggressive when they've established a hive and feel threatened.

On Sunday alone, the Tucson Fire Department responded to six calls about bees from across the city. Swarming calls have continued all week.

Feral-bee colonies are usually Africanized bees, which have negative effects on ecology. Africanized bees reproduce 10 times faster than native bee species, crowding them out. As a result, certain plants struggle to survive because Africanized bees don't pollinate them.

On StarNet: Read more environment-related articles at azstarnet.com/environment

when bees attack

Keep your distance from swarms. In most cases, bees will move on without attacking. If a swarm attacks, cover your face and make your way toward a shelter, such as a car, home or anything else that can create a barrier between you and the bees. Swimming pools don't provide such shelter, because bees can hover over you and wait for you to come up for air.

Avoid swatting them, and scrape stingers off with your fingers rather than plucking them out in order to avoid intensifying the sting.

When in doubt, run. Healthy people are faster than bees.

Keep bees out

• Use mesh screens to cover attic openings, irrigation-control boxes and water-meter boxes.

• Fill holes and cracks in foundations, walls and roofs.

• Remove trash that bees could adopt as shelter.

• Keep shed doors tightly closed.

Whom to call

To have a swarm removed from your property, contact a bee removal specialist.

If you rent your home, contact your landlord. If you see a swarm attacking a person or animal, call 911.

Source: Carl Hayden Bee Research Center