Kentucky man dies after swarm of bees attacks him on his porch

<span>Photograph: Bloomberg Creative Photos/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Bloomberg Creative Photos/Getty Images

A Kentucky man has died after a swarm of bees attacked him on his porch.

On Monday, the 59-year-old man whom local reports identified as Michael Alford was moving a bag of potting soil in Harlan county when he was stung by a swarm of bees from inside the package, authorities said in a statement.

The statement added that the man’s family started CPR, efforts that first responders continued, but “those attempts failed”.

John W Jones, Harlan’s deputy coroner, later pronounced Alford dead at a local hospital. Investigators determined his cause of death was respiratory failure resulting from the bee stings, the local news station WBIR reported.

According to Alford’s obituary, he was a former gas station manager who lived his entire life in Harlan county and enjoyed four-wheeling, playing the piano, collecting knives and whittling. Survivors include his wife Chi-Chi Margalene “Margo” Hughes Alford, three children and 11 grandchildren.

Authorities said they extended “heartfelt prayers … to the entire family and friends” of Alford.

From 2011 to 2021, there were a total of 788 deaths from hornet, wasp and bee stings across the US, with an average of 72 deaths annually, the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. Overall, 84% of the deaths that occurred were among men.

Last September, a 20-year-old Ohio man was stung at least 20,000 times by bees while he was cutting branches. The man eventually recovered after he was put into a medically induced coma.

Meanwhile, in 2021, an Arizona man died and two other people were hospitalized after they were stung hundreds of times by bees.

In the event of a sting by a bee, wasp or hornet, the CDC recommends washing the site with soap and water, as well as removing the stinger using gauze wipes or by scraping a fingernail over the area. It warns to never squeeze the stinger or use tweezers and to apply ice to the area to reduce swelling.