Teen survives 75 bee stings, dog dies

2013-01-18 12:45

Pietermaritzburg - A 14-year-old Pietermaritzburg teenager is recovering after he was attacked by a swarm of bees, leaving him with 75 bee stings.

Stuart Duncan was at home on Tuesday afternoon when the swarm came from his garden into the house and attacked him.

His mother, Roanne Duncan, who was at work at the time, said she received a panic-stricken call from her in-laws who live in a cottage in her yard.

She said she was happy that her son survived the ordeal.

“We are grateful that he is fine. It could have been far worse.”

Jumped into pool

She said her son escaped the bees by fleeing through the front door.

“But when he got outside, he was met by another swarm that attacked him there.”

He jumped into the swimming pool as a way of protecting himself.

His two dogs, Milo and Norman, were also attacked.

Milo escaped to a neighbour’s yard, while Norman collapsed and died from the multiple stings.

When she arrived home, Duncan said, her son was in the shower trying to get rid of the remaining bees.

“He was frightened. Fortunately, he is not allergic to bees.”

An ambulance arrived and as they were making their way inside, the bees came and attacked Stewart again.

“They came in and went straight for him.

“He was screaming and shouting,” Duncan explained.

Rushed to hospital

They got rid of the bees and Stuart was rushed to St Anne’s hospital, where he was put on a drip and given an antihistamine injection.

Stuart was stung on his head, neck, arms, back and torso.

“He’s got red marks, but is not swollen,” Duncan said.

The Grade 9 Maritzburg College pupil missed his first day of school on Wednesday because he was still recovering, but managed to go to school on Thursday.

His mother said that although he is a quiet boy, he was “quieter” on Wednesday.

“He is dealing with the loss of his pet. He felt he could have done something to help.”

She said nothing like this had ever happened in her 18 years of living on that property.

“We don’t know where they [bees] came from. I have never heard of anyone in Maritzburg who was attacked.”


  • kalabafazi - 2013-01-18 13:00


      gideon.walt - 2013-01-18 14:05

      Getting flanked by a swarm of bees, thats badass. Not enough toothpaste in the world for that itch!

      JamesBlacksmith - 2013-11-22 14:50

      When attacked by bees, run in one direction (preferable upwind) for at least 150m. You can actually outrun bees. Alternatively, lock yourself in room and cover your face. An adult can survive up to 1,000 bee stings and a child up to 500. It is actually recommended to NOT jump in a pool as the bees will just wait for you to surface. Basic information that should actually be taught at school level. Sorry about the bites and dog. Perhaps this info can help someone in future.

      Ray Smith - 2013-11-22 15:43

      James, you are spot on with your advice. Never jump into water, the bees will wait the whole day, and drill you when you come up for air. If possible, run zig-zag through trees and bushes, putting a visual barrier between you and the bees.They have terrible vision but excellent smell. I doubt whether this kid was attacked by another swarm when he went outside, it was just the rest of the existing swarm that was still the moer-in. Once a swarm is wound up, they stay angry until at least the following day. Also, once you have been stung, you are marked with the "angry pheromone", and any bee in the vicinity will hone in on you and probably attempt to add to your pain.

  • osama.pascal - 2013-01-18 13:06

    Suppose they counted the number of stings

      luke.weyers.9 - 2013-01-18 13:24

      They do...they have to check the whole body for stingers still stuck in the skin. I was attacked by a swarm when i was 7.

      osama.pascal - 2013-01-18 15:11

      Suppose the thump down means they didn't count

  • abner.mophethe - 2013-01-18 13:07

    BEE stings,lol,glad u good boy,sorry about your dog though

  • tisutherland - 2013-01-18 13:10

    so sad about the dog :(

  • mluleki.simelane - 2013-01-18 13:19

    This is unusual behavior by the bees, I'm glad he is ok, the dog that survived is gonna need help

  • darryl.earnshaw - 2013-01-18 13:21

    Stuart or Stewart?

  • utopian.idealist - 2013-01-18 13:26

    Unfortunately the natural habitat for bees in KZN is being completely overrun by forestry operations, forcing then to move into residential areas where pollen is in abundance. We can only blame ourselves if incidents like this happen more frequently.

      patrick.mampane - 2013-01-18 13:47

      Have they now resorted to toyi-toying in human settlements in protest for these unjust measures?

  • Ricardo.m.francisco - 2013-01-18 13:31

    Glad he survived it, but jumping in the pool couldve made it worse! another thing first its Stuart then its Stewart? huh?

  • thelma.pottek - 2013-01-18 13:44

    Poor kid xx glad he is better.

  • - 2013-01-18 13:47

    Shame poor kid and doggy. He's so lucky he is no allergic to bees but he must be careful as one can develope an allergy.

  • marcus.vermaak - 2013-01-18 13:51

    Wow bud, good move with the pool escape, sorry about your dog, it's hard to loose a pet when you are young. But after a few months you gained a cool story bro... :P

      JamesBlacksmith - 2013-11-22 14:51

      Actually not really (re. pool), actually taught that a pool won't help as bees will just wait for you to surface.

  • Khule - 2013-01-18 13:56


  • ErikMagnetoMaier - 2013-01-18 13:57

    Well written article... can't decide how to spell the child's name and then a line like: "She said she was happy that her son survived the ordeal." haha well I'd hope so...

  • numerofigo - 2013-01-18 14:00


  • jonas.mbedzi - 2013-01-18 14:01


  • Mandy Casey - 2013-01-18 14:03

    Heard of doom, should have armed himself after the first attack.

      Ray Smith - 2013-11-22 15:51

      Mandy, if you really want to piss off a swarm of bees, bring out the Doom can. There are up to 50 000 bees in a swarm, good luck trying to outspray them.

  • - 2013-01-18 14:18

    Teen survives BBEE.

  • gillian.sanderson - 2013-01-18 15:45

    Lucky lad! R I P Norman x

  • t3bzam - 2013-01-18 17:17

    Ne madam u must slaughter a cow spill the blood on ur propety there is aomething great comin

  • tshepo.batista - 2013-01-18 19:46

    thank u god wthout u nothing is possible

  • karl.vanrooyen - 2013-01-19 13:37

    Seriously folks . What should a person do if attacked by a swarm of bees ? Jokes aside .some days are really hot and the bees seem to be more active.

      Ray Smith - 2013-11-22 16:00

      Run like hell. They will follow you for a way, but not more than a couple of hundred meters. NEVER jump into water. If you get stung, the important thing is to get the stinger out as fast as possible. Don't hunt around for something to scrape it out,use your fingernails.It is an urban myth that you will squeeze more poison in, the sting works on a rhythmic muscular contraction, and the time-frame between being stung and removing the sting is the critical factor, not the method of removal. Lastly, avoid using brushcutters and lawnmowers around known hives, it is a recipe for disaster.

  • trish.smith.77770 - 2013-01-24 13:04

    What area of Pietermaritzburg was this incident?

  • Jason Rom - 2013-03-09 10:03

    oh bad !

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