A farmer in Taoyuan County became a temporary home for more than 200 honeybees that covered more than a third of his back while he was resting in his yard on Thursday.
The man, surnamed Chung (鍾), was sitting on a chair outside his house in Jhongli (中壢), smoking a cigarette, after having spent the morning working in the field. A queen bee apparently landed on his back, drawing the rest of her swarm, although Chung was not aware of it.
He only learned about the bees when his wife came out to call him to lunch and saw bees covering his back. She told him not move while she dialed 119.
Jhongli Fire Department Squad leader Huang Cheng-hsing (黃正行) said the firefighters first thought they might need to call in a fire engine and drive the bees away by spraying water on them, but then decided to use a fire extinguisher.
Chung was fine after the bees were removed, aside from four or five stings in his neck, back and near his left eye, Huang said, adding that it was fortunate that the honeybee’s venom was not strong.
Chung said it was normal to see bees flying around the countryside and because the bees had not stung him when they were resting on his back, he was unaware of their presence.
Sanchi Bee Farm owner Wu -Shuang-shun (吳雙順) said spring and autumn were the seasons when queen bees split from their old hive or migrate to a new location.
Wu said it was possible a queen bee stopped on Chung’s back to rest, which drew the rest of the hive. The bees would not have been aggressive during hive migration.
Should one encounter bees in a field, Wu advised burning hay to smoke them out. He said this would also mask people’s scent and lower their chance of being stung.
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer