Bee Swarm Attack in Northern Belize Hospitalizes Two, Injures Several Others

Bee Swarm Attack in Northern Belize Hospitalizes Two, Injures Several Others

Two persons were hospitalized, and several others were injured after bees swarmed them yesterday in northern Belize. The frightening ordeal unfolded just after four o’clock on Balam Street in San Jose Nuevo Palmar Village, Orange District. Love News understands that Jose Cantun, Rosita Aldana, and Margarita Aldana had just arrived at the home when a hive of bees attacked and began to sting them. The insects flooded the house, forcing residents to rescue Cantun and Rosita Aldana. Meanwhile, the elderly Margarita Aldana was saved by her husband, Roque Aldana, who used a torch to ward off the bees. Yesterday, he spoke about the incident outside of the Northern Regional Hospital, where Cantun and Rosita Aldana remain in stable condition.

Roque Aldana, Orange Walk Resident: “Margarita, my wife, is still in the clinic because she is doing very good. And here in the hospital, another big hospital. My sister is okay according to the doctor and my brother too. The lady she’s going to stay overnight, she is stable according to the doctor. She got stung by hundreds of these bees. They don’t seem to be the African bees, it’s  a mixture it looks like to me. What I did, I brought in a small butane tank with a torch, and I tried to get rid of the bees with that. I was at home when they come in with the news that this is going on at the back, two streets from where I live. So, seeing that I couldn’t get any help the police came by, they couldn’t do anything because they were not equipped. The ambulance came, nobody could come out because they were not equipped to meet the bees. So I did the next best thing I could do. I brought in fire and tried to get rid of the bees as much as possible. I didn’t get in the house, she was lying at the door. And from there I could just swing this torch around. They were biting me, but at least I was burning a lot of them. And I got closer to my sister-in-law where the bees kind of got  scared and they went away. Then somebody from the clinic came and rescued her and picked her up  and took her into the ambulance. I was worried because I know that when killer bees hit you and you’re on the ground you won’t get away from there so the good thing about this is that they are not killer bees.”

We spoke with Densford Mangar, Extension Officer, and Ministry of Agriculture who was on the team that responded to the emergency call. Mangar says they burned down the bee’s nest using an improvised torch made from an iron bar and a cotton cloth soaked in diesel, which they obtained from Aldana’s neighbor. Mangar says their investigation revealed that the bees had been there for some time.

Densford Mangar, Extension Officer, Ministry of Agriculture: ‘We had to do a search of the area and when we noticed that the bees were in a termite nest on a mango limb about twenty to thirty feet high. So we assessed the situation, the limb looked rotten so we decided to use a long pole and we made a torch. So we came out back, we asked the neighbors and they were very cooperative with us. One neighbor gave us cotton gauze that we needed, the other neighbor used their vehicle to buy diesel, we wrapped the cloth and made a torch, soaked the cloth with the diesel and we lit it and both Mr. Pedro Gonzales and I had to lift the torch as it was an iron bar and we burnt it down. What we found out most of the time because we see combs there, the comb was about two feet long we know that that swarm was there at least two to three months and this is the thing because then our main concern or one of the concerns I always looked at is that residents don’t like to call us at the same time the bees swarm to an area or location. And they have to be cognizant of the fact that it is a residential area. You could have elderly people, you could have disabled people and anything that would let that bee be disturbed it would sting dogs, it would sting human beings and what to you think about the elderly people and the disabled people they won’t be able to move. So this is one of the concerns I have mainly that people need to be cognizant of the fact that think about your neighbors around you it’s not only you that are going to be affected. An advice that I have to give to anybody that comes across a swarm of bees do not disturb the bees. The bees are not killer bees, they are like anyone like human beings or any animals they will defend themselves as necessary.”

Our newsroom understands that doctors had to shave Rosita Aldana’s head to treat her.

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