A man picking persimmons with a friend on a farm near Porto, Portugal, stumbled across a nest of the murderous hornets, and it cost him his life.
The man, identified only by his first name Celso, died of cardiac arrest caused by anaphylactic shock despite repeated attempts to save him by paramedics.
His friend, Abilio Rodrigues, 60, was also hurt in the incident and told the Portuguese daily Jornal de Noticias: “I’ve never seen anything like it… I went to cut the fruit from the tree and they attacked me.”
“They stung in the arm and on the head while I was on a ladder about 20 feet from the ground but I endured the pain so as not to fall,” Rodrigues’ said, translated by the Mirror. “Celso was also hurt and we went to try to get help. I put vinegar on my wounds to see if it eased the pain but by then Celso was having difficulty speaking.”
By the time paramedics arrived, Celso, 70, was in cardiac arrest. The nest was destroyed.
He isn’t the first victim of murder hornets in Europe this year. In September, Spaniard Antonio Rodriguez Loureiro was also attacked and died by the insects in northwest Spain.
The invasive insect, which can grow up to 2 inches long, are a threat to honey bees — which they can decapitate in seconds during mass attacks on hives.
They have spread globally, with Washington state first capturing a live species in January.
While a sting to humans isn’t usually fatal, the host of an extreme nature show described being stung as “Searing pain! Absolute searing pain!” Japan attributes 50 human deaths a year to the nasty buzzers.
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