ONLY last month a woman in Port Elizabeth died after being attacked by a swarm of angry bees – and each year there are generally two bee sting fatalities across the country.
Pets and animals are also at risk, with about 50 dogs a year reportedly killed in Port Elizabeth alone by bees.
Atlas Security has issued a checklist of what to do if you encounter a swarm of bees:
- RUN! Run away from the hive of bees as fast as you can. Bees use pheromones to alert other hive members of a threat, the longer you are in the vicinity, the more bees will arrive, ready to sting.
- If you have a jacket or anything else with you, use it to cover your head. Protect your eyes and face if possible but try not to obstruct your vision if you are running.
- Try and get indoors as quickly as possible. If you aren’t near a building, get inside the nearest car or shed. Close the doors and windows to keep the bees from following you.
- If no shelter is available, keep running. Bees can follow you for as much as 400m. Run far enough; you should be able to outpace them.
- Whatever you do, don’t stay still if the bees are stinging you. They will not stop if you “play dead”.
- Do not swat at the bees or wave your arms to fend them off. That will only confirm that you are indeed a threat. You are likely to be stung even more.
- Do not jump into a pool or any other body of water to avoid the bees. They can and will wait for you to surface, and will sting you as soon as you emerge.
If someone else is being stung by bees and cannot escape, try to assist them by covering them with anything you can find.
Do what you can do quickly, cover any exposed skin or susceptible areas of their body, and then summons help as fast as you can.