A 20-year-old Ohio man went into a coma after he was stung 20,000 times by African killer bees, and swallowed 30. He is now awake and expected to recover.
Austin Bellamy was trimming branches from a lemon tree in Ripley, Ohio when he accidentally cut into a nest, according to a GoFundMe page set up by his family.
African killer bees, also known as Africanized honeybees, only usually sting people when they feel threatened. Just one sting can cause pain and itching, which usually improves on its own. A person can survive 10 bee stings per pound of their body weight, according to the USDA. The most stings an adult should be able to endure is around 1,000.
Bellamy’s grandmother, Phyllis Edwards, and his uncle, Dustin Edwards, were standing underneath the tree at the time, and witnessed the incident, WXIX reported.
Phyllis Edwards told the news station that she tried to get up the ladder to help her grandson, but he was “surrounded in bees.”
“He was hollering, ‘Help! Help me! Help!’ And nobody would help him,” said Phyllis Edwards.— Payton Marshall (@paytontvnews) August 31, 2022
Tonight at 10 on @FOX19 hear from the mother who says her son was stung by at least 20,000 bees. pic.twitter.com/GcglNBKX35
Bellamy was rushed to the hospital after a firefighter named Craig helped him down from the tree. He is now at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he remains in a medically induced coma as of August 30.
The 20-year-old’s mother, Shawna Carter, told WXIX that it looked like her son had a “black blanket on his head down to his neck.”
Carter told WCPO-TV that her son suffered a kidney failure and medical officials had to suck bees out of his airways over the weekend.
Carter also told WXIX that it was the firefighter who saved her son’s life.
“When I think of Craig, Craig is a lifesaver,” she said. “He’s Austin’s angel. He saved Austin’s life.”
Bee venom contains multiple proteins, enzymes, and peptides. Once injected into the body, it targets skin cells and the immune system. Those who are allergic from bee stings can die just from one sting.
African killer bee venom is no more dangerous than a regular honey bee. But if a person is stung more than a dozen times or so, they will start feeling the effects. A person stung too many times may become nauseous. Other symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting.
The GoFundMe page set up by Carter is trying to raise money for her son’s treatment.