Honeybees in Florida
Honeybees seen in a Florida hiveJoe Raedle/Getty Images

A family is grieving after its dog had to be put down having been swarmed by bees while the children looked on in horror.

The Leonard family's dog, seven-year-old Delilah, was in the backyard of their home in Florida when a swarm of bees that may have come from their neighbours' hive, descended on the animal.

Although the dog tried to get back inside, the Leonard children were too afraid of the swarm to open the doors, mother Debbie Leonard told the Palm Beach Post, saying that the insects were "relentless".

The family got Delilah to the vet but after over 100 stingers were removed there was no choice but to put her down. Leonard said that her children were "traumatised" by the incident.

WPTV reported that the Leonards' neighbour keeps bees, even showing an aerial view of hives on the property. Reports suggested that the bees were "Africanized", meaning they were a hybrid between European and African bees that are thought to be more aggressive.

Though whether or not that kind of bee is a bigger threat is debatable, with "Africanized" bees being generally smaller and less venomous.

Debbie Leonard told WPTV: "I don't think that they should be allowed to have hives in a residential neighbourhood like this... there's too many pets, there's too many kids."

Leonard said she was worried about her children and her other dog. WPTV said that the neighbour had not broken any laws by keeping the bees which they had a permit for. They had also been inspected by state authorities although authorities told the channel another inspector would be sent out.

Earlier in June, a swarm of bees attacked four people and two dogs in Vista, California, killing a long haired dachshund, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.