A construction worker is recovering after having suffered dozens of bee stings in a swarm attack.
Joao Batista was targeted by the insects after their hive had been disturbed near his building site in Anapolis, Goias State, Brazil.
Footage from a surveillance camera outside a shop documents how Joao staggers along the pavement as he tries to get away from the agitated pollinators.
One witness can be seen opening the back door of his car to offer shelter, but the 49-year-old bricklayer continues to walk on woozily.
When Joao reaches a grocery store’s streetside ice cream freezer, he lifts the lid and sticks his whole head in as a sales assistant tries to fend off the bees. At the same time, a shopworker approaches with a bucket of water which he pours on the struggling construction worker’s head.
Joao needed treatment at a hospital. He suffered around 70 stings to his neck and arms, according to reports by Brazilian news websites.
His grateful wife Ivanilda Goncalves thanked the shopkeepers for their help.
She said: “They were the key to helping him. I’m grateful.”
Ivanilda added: I don’t know them, but I want to meet them. I want to thank them because, in my opinion, if it weren’t for their help, Joao wouldn’t be here today.”
Reflecting on the incident, her husband admitted: “The despair is so great, the pain is so great that you think you are going to die instantly.”
Fire Department Lieutenant Wagner Jose Cardoso explained: “We spray water mist and the bees think that it is starting to rain and retreat inside their hive. “
But he warned other possible victims: “The only thing you can do is run. When a bee kills itself by releasing a sting, it releases a pheromone that will attract others. This way you will suffer more attacks.”
Experts advise anyone under attack by a swarm to seek shelter in a building as fast as they can.
Erika Thompson is a swarm removal expert at Texas Beeworks.
Erika, whose ‘Texas Bee Lady‘ Instagram account has more than 1.4 million followers, said: “Bees and other bugs are running out of safe spaces to live and work, so as humans encroach on their environment, these interactions between species are naturally going to increase.”
When bees sting humans, the insects push a barbed stinger into the skin. The stinger contains proteins that affect the immune system. Getting stung can be life-threatening to anyone allergic to these substances.