Not to bee.
A Bermo colliery worker, standing under a banyan tree after his lunch on Wednesday afternoon, was the unwitting victim of a bee attack that might led to his death.
Forty-eight-year-old Mohammed Ishrafil Ansari, who worked as a mining sadar with Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) at its Bokaro and Kargali colliery, some 36km from Bokaro Steel City, couldn’t have imagined this would be his last day.
Though post-mortem reports will confirm the cause of death, it appears that Ansari was fatally stung by hundreds of honeybees.
Bee venom is harmful as it contains the highly acidic peptide melittin.
This apart, each bee has a stinger that penetrates and ruptures human skin.
Ansari died on the way to the CCL hospital, barely 800m away from the banyan tree that hosted the beehive.
Around 2.30pm, Ansari and one of his contract labourers Tika Ram were standing and chatting under the shade of the banyan, when some local children started to aim pebbles at the beehive nestling in the tree, hoping to get some drops of honey.
Both the men didn’t think much about it. But suddenly, the hive, knocked down by the steady onslaught of pebbles, fell on Ansari.
Instantly, a furious swarm of bees started to sting the man on his face, eyes, nose, ears, arms and everywhere they could reach.
Screaming, Ansari however showed presence of mind by rolling on the ground to ward off the bees but was no match. Soon, he fainted from pain.
Ram, standing nearby, was also stung, but to a lesser extent. The children fled.
Bystanders, protecting their faces with gunny sacks, somehow rescued the duo and rushed them to the CCL-run regional hospital at Dhori, Bermo, but Ansari was declared brought dead.
Contract labourer Ram is recovering steadily and is said to be out of danger.
General manager of CCL (Bokaro and Kargali colliery) Anupam Kumar could not be contacted for his comment despite repeated attempts.
In the US, bee stings said to be the biggest killer of humans directly caused by animals.
According to The Merck Manual of Diagnosis & Therapy, the world’s best-selling medical textbook, the average adult can withstand more than 1,000 stings, though around 500 stings can kill a child.
However, bees are not aggressive unless provoked.
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