New Zealand driver, Jason Nowell knew he was in trouble when he was “hammered” in the face, head, and neck by a swarm of bees last Friday.
According to the Masterton truck driver, “It was a bad, serious situation, when you’re getting hammered by that many bees that hard and that quick.”
The driver was stung several times under his veil, and on his neck, face, and back while transporting a load of bees along Highway 2 between Napier and Wairoa. Several bystanders saw the driver running around near his truck – covered in bees after opening up the chilled trailer to check the load. Both and ambulance and rescue helicopter were called to the scene.
The driver spent a day in the hospital, and has been recovering at home.
Emergency personnel said that Nowell blamed the bee attack on the queen bee flying down his shirt. To that Nowell responded, “I just said maybe the queen got out and the others followed her . . . I’m not a beekeeper, I’m a truck driver. If you’ve got hundreds of bees all over your head, you don’t know whether it was a queen first, or what.”
The driver was believed to have been removing his protective gear to resume driving prior to the attack.
All hives reached their destination with no known losses – it is unknown whether or not the incident would be reported to authorities.
According to a Tolaga Bay beekeeper, the hives were being carried for the manuka flowering season – and the bees would have only behaved in the way that they did if the air conditioning in the truck had been turned off.
Multiple bee stings can potentially have toxic effects on the body, and can cause death in extreme cases. A lethal dose for an adult (without an allergy) would be approximately 1,500 stings.