An elderly man has been hospitalised after being stung hundreds of times by a swarm of bees in southern Brazil.
Local media have published footage showing 70-year-old Jose Silva crouching on the floor on a roadside strip of grass in Tres Lagoas in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul.
The pensioner is waving his T-shirt in a desperate bid to fend off the insects which are crawling all over his body.
Jose’s son claimed that his dad had been stung more than 500 times. The elderly man had already lost consciousness when a team of firefighters managed to rescue him.
Brazilian news websites report that several passersby had been stung too as they tried to save the man.
Jose was taken to the local Auxiliadora Hospital where doctors managed to stabilise his condition.
An expert on insect behaviour has warned against waving one’s arm if a bee or several of the pollinators are approaching.
The author of the book “The Sting Of The Wild” warned that such actions might turn a coincidental encounter into an assault.
Dr Schmidt said: “Bees don’t form images in the same way that humans do. They use vision primarily to detect motion and quick or jerky movements near a nest are interpreted as a threat.
“When you see a bee buzzing near your head, I know it’s very satisfying to flap your arms. It just feels so good to swat at it – don’t do it!
“It’ll make everything worse. The bees feel threatened and their natural response is to rise up together and defend their queen.”
The bees react by stinging. The stingers release pheromones that can attract and arouse other bees.
Speaking to ABC News, Dr Schmidt emphasised that holding one’s breath could help to prevent an attack from happening.
The 75-year-old American entomologist explained that the smell was bees’ primary sense.
He said: “They navigate the world through odour. Holding your breath won’t exactly help when there’s a whole swarm on you, but it might give you some time to get away if only a few bees are hovering.
Dr Schmidt added: “If you take that away, you are making them blind, so to speak. It’s almost like you are invisible to them.”