A tragic incident in Kentucky resulted in the death of a 59-year-old man, Michael Alford after he unwittingly disturbed a bag of potting soil harboring a swarm of defensive bees.
Upon moving the bag from his porch, Alford was swiftly attacked and stung by the bees. The Harlan County Coroner’s Office reports that Alford collapsed within half an hour post the incident. His daughter, Marlana, made desperate attempts at CPR, but Alford was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. A subsequent statement from the coroner’s office pointed to Alford’s pre-existing health issues, suggesting that the bee stings might have exacerbated them.
The community mourned the loss of Alford, a gas station manager with passions including playing the piano and collecting knives. His obituary revealed that a memorial service was held on Saturday.
Remembering the devoted family man, he leaves behind his wife, Chi-Chi Margalene “Margo” Hughes Alford, three children, and 11 grandchildren.
Surprisingly, bee-related fatalities aren’t as uncommon as one might think. The US CDC discloses that between 2011 and 2021, hornets, wasps, and bee stings caused 788 deaths, with men being disproportionately affected. The USDA notes that while a child could be at risk from 500 stings, an average adult might endure over 1,100 stings. Still, caution is advised, as evidenced by past tragic cases from Arizona.
The USDA’s advice remains clear: it’s safest to keep a distance when a bee colony is spotted to prevent aggressive encounters.