Citizen Reporter
4 minute read
28 Oct 2021
1:13 pm

‘It was just awful’: Centurion man stung over 500 times by bees

Citizen Reporter

“It was crazy. The bees followed and chased me. They were in my ears, in my mouth, and even tried to sting me in the eyes.”

Andrew Christie was stung more than 500 times by a swarm of bees. Photo: Odette Venter/Pretoria Rekord.

A group of Centurion residents found out just how vicious bees can be after a swarm of the angry insects left four residents hospitalised.

One man was stung more than 500 times.

A quiet Tuesday afternoon became chaotic when the bees, which were nesting in an electricity box in the field at the corner of Opperman Road and Frieda Street in Rooishuiskraal, attacked.

Andrew Christie, a 46-year-old resident at the London residential complex, told the Pretoria Rekord he was in the shower on Tuesday afternoon when he heard “his children freaking out and his wife calling to him saying there were bees”.

“I didn’t think much of it. I thought it would blow over soon enough, and I was still preparing to go to the shops.

“As I drove out of the complex, I was flagged down by a woman who was hysterical. She said someone was busy drowning in the complex pool and she could not assist because she was allergic to bees.”

When Christie reached the pool, a man was trying to rescue someone out of the pool.

“I just dropped my cellphone and ran to help them. I later learned the man in the pool was a security guard who jumped into the pool to escape the bees, and the man assisting him was the gardener.

“It was terrifying. As I neared the pair, the gardener who was assisting the security guard in the pool was going into a fit, having convulsions because of the bee stings.”

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Christie and the gardener still managed to get the security guard out of the pool. Someone else meanwhile had managed to call emergency services.

“I saw a lot of bees around and they started to sting me. I heard the sirens of emergency vehicles approaching.

“The paramedics told me to get away from the bees and to stop waving my arms.”

Christie said he then ran out of the complex.

“It was crazy. About 20m further, the bees followed and chased me. They were in my ears, in my mouth, and even tried to sting me in the eyes. It was just awful.

“At that stage, more emergency vehicles arrived, but no one could get close to me because I was surrounded by the swarm. I was in agony, they mainly stung me on the head.”

Andrew Christie shows the bee stings on his arm. Photo: Odette Venter/Pretoria Rekord

Christie said he was begging them to help him, fearing for his life, but no one could do anything.

“I don’t know how long it lasted, I thought I might die. It was then that a man in a bakkie drove up to me, opened the door, and insisted I get in.

“He exposed himself to the danger and also got stung. But we managed to drive away from the bees and left them behind after driving off. He drove me straight to a nearby clinic,” Christie said.

“There the doctors assessed me and stopped counting at 500 stings, I was put on a drip and received medication. I had to go back daily for treatment. I am only better now.”

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Christie said he wished he could thank the man in the bakkie for saving his life.

“I don’t know who he is, or even what his name is. I just want to thank him for saving my life. I want to thank him for being such a decent human being.”

JP Le Roux, Monitor Net spokesperson, said they responded to the call on Tuesday at around 3pm.

“Three people were stung more severely than the rest of the residents. A lady, who is allergic to bees, was taken to hospital by ambulance as well as the security guard and gardener of one of the complexes.”

Johan du Toit, from Centurion beekeeping company Die Bye Boer, says it doesn’t take much to agitate bees at this time of the year.

“It is hot and the air is stuffy. A lot of flowers and trees are in bloom, bees have a lot of honey to produce and protect.

“Merely getting into their flight path, especially near the entrance of the nest, is enough to get stung. And once the first bee stings, the entire nest will attack.

“That is why it is never wise to approach bees during the day. Also, bees cannot stand the smell of sweat, perfume or cut grass. One should wash off all body odours before approaching bees.”

Du Toit said the best advice he can give, is to stay away from bees as it can cost one’s life. “It is serious,” he said.

“Should you be unfortunate enough to get attacked by a swarm of bees, run. Get into a pool or a dam or a lake, or just spray them off with water. They might, however, stick around and wait for you to get out of the water.

“Do not use stuff like Doom on bees, and keep in mind they can remain aggressive for days after an attack.”

This article first appeared on Caxton publication Pretoria Rekord. Read the original article here.

By Odette Venter