Bees are almost as deadly as snakes in Australia, according to a report, which comes after Victorian gardener died after being attacked by a swarm of the insects.
The Age reported that bee stings caused 25 deaths in Australia over the past 13 years, only second to snake bites, which caused 27 deaths in the same period. Hornet or wasp stings killed two people in the same period.
Bee, wasp and hornet stings caused more hospitalisations – more than 12,350 in the 13-year period, compared to 6,123 for snake bites – but snakes were more deadly, causing almost twice as many deaths per hospital admission than any other cause.
The numbers were from a study by the University of Melbourne, with the lead researcher responsible telling The Age that many people were likely to be unaware they were allergic to bee stings.
Steven Tingate died on Thursday after he was attacked by a swarm of bees while working in the produce garden at the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, Victoria.
According to reports, he was bitten by multiple bees and although a co-worker gave him immediate first aid and paramedics attended, the 27-year-old died at the scene.
The government’s Health Direct website says that anaphylactic shock can come on within minutes of a bite or sting, with symptoms including swelling of the mouth, throat or tongue, a rash anywhere on the body, stomach cramps and weakness.
Health Direct advises calling 000 in such cases, as adrenaline may be needed to treat the person.