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Four horses killed by a swarm of bees in Nutley

By East Grinstead Observer  |  Posted: June 30, 2011

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FOUR horses died after being attacked by a swarm of bees.

Two of the horses, who lived at Hunters Farm in Nutley, are believed to have died from heart failure caused by extreme allergic reactions.

The other two were found drowned in a pond after trying to escape the attack.

The animals' owner, Anne Gerrard, kept nine beehives near their paddock.

"It was a night of horrors," she said. "It has upset the whole family much more than you could ever imagine.

"They were part of the family and it has been a bereavement for us all."

Mrs Gerrard spotted one of the horses staggering past her kitchen window into the stables in the early evening of June 9.

"He would not let anyone near him so I ran and called for a vet," she said.

Mrs Gerrard and her brother searched for the three other horses – which were aged between 2 and 20.

The pair discovered one of the horses dead in the field and the other two in the pond.

"I think it was the sheer quantity of bee stings that caused them to die – it was so sad," Mrs Gerrard said.

"We can only guess at what has happened. Something disturbed the bees – perhaps one horse jumped out and knocked a hive.

"Nobody knows what happened, but some hives were damaged and the horses were obviously attacked by millions of bees."

Mrs Gerrard added that she wanted to warn other beekeepers that hives should be kept well away from other animals and at least 100 metres away from horses.

The British Beekeepers Association has also warned people not to locate hives next to footpaths or bridleways.

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