By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
THREE College of The Bahamas students were hospitalised following an attack by a swarm of African killer bees at the bus shelter on East Sunrise Highway, near the Ranfurly Circus.
Although such attacks can be fatal, The Tribune understands that while two of the students were severely stung, their injuries are reportedly non-life threatening.
This is the second bee attack at a bus shelter in the Freeport area.
Rand Memorial Hospital Administrator Sharon Williams could not be contacted up to press time, but according to sources, three persons suffering from multiple bee stings were taken by ambulance to the hospital on Wednesday morning.
A group of students was at the bus shelter around 9am when they were attacked by bees. Police, EMS personnel and a local pest control expert were called to the scene to give assistance.
It is believed that a landscaping crew working in the area at the time disturbed a large beehive, which was discovered in bushes just behind the bus shelter.
The area was cordoned off by police until the beehive was located and removed.
Budget Pest Control senior technician Stephano Evans, who arrived at the scene around 9.20am, reported that police and EMS personnel were assisting several students who managed to escape across the street to the parking lot at the Pollo Tropical restaurant.
“Quite a few of them were stung, but two students were severely stung,” he recalled. “I saw them at the hospital, but they were in good condition.”
Mr Evans put on a protective bee suit and located the massive beehive some 15 ft away from the bus shelter, in nearby bushes.
The hive was 2.5 feet wide and 3.5 feet long.
He said noise from the landscaping equipment agitated the bees.
“I had the police block both sides of the road to prevent cars and pedestrians from the area. Once I was suited up, I went in search of the hive,” he said.
The hive was discovered underneath an old broken fence.
“A cardboard was lying on top of the fence and the bees built their hive under that because it provided them shelter from the rain – I estimate that there were about some 50,000 bees,” said Mr Evans.
Officials at the Department of Road Traffic reopened the bus shelter to the public around 6pm Thursday.
Last October, motorists watched in horror as a swarm of bees viciously attacked Kevin Johnson at the bus shelter on West Sunrise Highway. The beehive was located in an old tyre in bushes behind the bus shelter.
Johnson, 31, was stung over 300 times and was hospitalised for several days following the attack. He was left badly swollen, with blisters all over his body.
Mr Evans rescued Mr Johnson that day, saying it was miracle he survived the ordeal.
According to Mr Evans, Africanised bees are the deadliest; they are easily aggressive and easily provoked and will pursue their victims.
“This (second) swarm was not as big as the first one in October. I think what helped the students was when the bees went on the attack they immediately ran from the scene, instead of trying to swat them off,” he explained.
People who come across a hive should get out of the area and notify the authorities and a local pest control company immediately. If a person is under attack they should cover their ears and get indoors as quickly as possible.
It is believed that the Africanised bees were first sighted in Grand Bahama in 2007.