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Bees were everywhere, even in my pants

Bees were everywhere, even in my pants
Saturday, Nov 23, 2013
The New Paper
By Koh Hui Theng

SINGAPORE - The task seemed easy enough: Get rid of the bee hive on the lamp post beside a fallen tree.

But the job took a deadly turn when three workers reached the spot on Nov 6 at about 11am.

What followed next happened quickly. Without warning, the bees - believed to be Malayan Wild Bees - turned on the men. All three were stung and hospitalised.

One of them, Mr Mohd Sallehen S, died on the same day. He was in his early 30s.

While The New Paper was unable to confirm officially if this was the first bee-attack death here, the pest control community said it was the first time they had heard of such a death.

1. The attack

It started when the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) was alerted to the presence of bees.

The SLA spokesman said: "Our officers visited (Sherwood Road in Tanglin) and discovered a nest of bees on a lamp post next to a fallen tree."

They called pest control company ATL Maintenance, which dispatched Mr Sallehen and two others to the site. A colleague, who wanted to be known only as Mr Ahmad, recalled: "The swarm was so thick, you couldn't count how many bees there were."

The trio parked their van about 15m from the swarm, near the public carpark.

Mr Ahmad opened the back door to retrieve the gear and safety suits.

That was when disaster struck.

"All of a sudden, I noticed a lot of bees around my head. Then I felt them stinging my face," he said. "It happened so quickly. They were all over me, in my shirt and in my pants. There was no time to even touch the equipment or (safety) suit. The bees had already attacked."

Bee attacks in Singapore and what to do to avoid being stung

Click on thumbnail to view. Story continues after photos.
(Photos: TNP, ST)

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