07 October 2009

Hornet attack tragedy

I read with great concern and sorrow for the family whose 3 precious children died from a hornet attack. The mother remains hospitalised in a critical condition. It seems such a random and innocent thing - to take a stroll near their home, never imagining such an outing could turn out so tragic. My prayers and thoughts go out to the family.

One would not expect to find a hornets' nest to be found on the ground behind some rocks. An internet fact sheet on hornets said that hornets nest in hollow trees, wall cavities, chimneys and similar structures and that they show a preference for wooded areas. The pictures in the news show the hornets' nest clinging to the bottom of some large rocks in an area that was more grassy than wooded. Nobody could have guessed that such danger lurked there.

It seems hornets have been rather busy, as a group of about 20 runners taking part in the "Bergmarathon" around the northern Austrian city of Linz on Saturday 12 September were attacked as they approached the finishing line. Angry hornets also put a Swiss businessman in hospital after they attacked him at his holiday home in Gurk in Carinthia’s St. Veit district on Tuesday, 22 September - he was mowing the lawn.

A bee breeder was quoted as saying "If we are being attacked, all we need to do is find a place to squat down. Don't keep running or moving our limbs, as this will make the bees misunderstand that we are going to attack them." That sounds amazingly simple, but to squat down? I don't know how many people would have the presence of mind to do that. And in the tragedy in Sarawak, it was an open space. There was no where to hide, no safe place to squat down. Perhaps there should be hornet/ bee talks to educate the public on what to do in the event of an attack.
(image from arkive.org)


  1. it is sad that such incident happened. hmm...by just squatting, the hornets won't attack anymore? thanks for the info :)


  2. I'm not so convinced by what the bee breeder said, Barb. But I guess that's usually expert advice isn't it? Don't move - when threatened by a bear, play dead; when a dog snarls at you, don't run, when a shark nears you in the sea, don't panic and start swimming madly, just stay still. Who knows...

  3. If one can get away by squatting - that's excellent. But if one cannot get away by squatting, guess the person will not be around to tell the story. As for me, I will sprint like hell from the scene!!! Ma Ma Mia!

  4. I'd do the same,Bnaipal! Have you watched Lost? There was one episode where they were attacked by bees when one guy stepped on a hive which was on the ground - they sure did run fast and took off their clothes too...other than the entertainment, I learned that hives could be found on the ground :)