Bees attack Richards Bay vagrant, stranger tries to help with Doom

A homeless man had his world turned upside down on Wednesday afternoon as a swarm of bees appeared to come out of nowhere, stinging him at least 30 times, Zululand Observer reports.

Robert Ngema, whose company HA van der Laan and Co, was carrying out work on the Bay Centre’s roof, noticed Ntokozo Zulu desperately trying to get away from a swarm of bees.

“I saw him flailing his arms about and running in between the vehicles on the road and in the parking lot. People were trying to help but could not get too close. One person threw a drum of water over Ntokozo, but it did not deter the bees,” said Ngema.

It was then that Ngema saw someone with a can of Doom, with which he sprayed the bees.

“The Doom got rid of the bees for long enough for us to rush in and escort Ntokozo to the nearest medical centre,” said Godfrey Louw, who had also witnessed the commotion.

“As soon as we took Ntokozo to the medical centre, Dr Huisamen left the patient he had been seeing and immediately tended to him,” said Louw.

“Ntokozo had been stung all over his head, face and neck and his face was swollen as a result. We administered an antihistamine injection, and the swelling went down very quickly,’ said Dr Huisamen.

Ntokozo was visibly in shock, shaking and shivering, but had not had an allergic reaction to the bee stings. About 20 minutes later, nurses removed the stings.

The bees appeared to have gathered in a manhole on the grass between the Boardwalk and Bay centres, close to the Bay Centre car park and informal car washers.

Normally a hive of activity, immediately after the incident the car washers had disappeared and that section of the car park emptied. It is unclear what provoked the attack.

Bee remover Hester Fraser said bees normally only swarm and attack in large numbers when threatened, protecting young or protecting their food source.

“Swarms of bees are not automatically aggressive, and if they have just moved into an area, they will not attack as they have nothing to defend,” said Fraser.

“If a person finds themselves within a swarm of bees, spraying orange juice will neutralise the scent they release when stinging. It is this scent that attracts other bees from the colony which join in the defensive attack.”

After the incident, people had lit a fire, attempting to use the smoke as a bee deterrent.

“Under no circumstances should people attempt to use fire or smoke to deter bees, as this will only make them more aggressive,” said Fraser.

The incident was reported to the City of uMhlathuze, whose communications officer, Mdu Ncalane, said it would be dealt with.

Caxton News Service

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