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Giant honey bees swarm home in southern Thailand

Samui Times News



Giant honey bees swarm home in southern Thailand
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A man from Krabi, southern Thailand, was left terrified and thankfully unharmed after tens of thousands of giant honey bees – or Apis dorsata – swarmed his home on Sunday. Thailand’s giant honey bees have been called “the most dangerous stinging insects on earth” by Cornell University apiculturist Roger Morse.

Somchai Kaewkasorn, a Department of Highways official, was watching television on Sunday evening at around 8pm when he noticed 2 or 3 giant honey bees fly into his house. Then he saw 2 or 3 more, then he saw more, and more. When Somchai went outside, he heard the swarm before he saw it. He could hear tens of thousands of bees beneath his home. He said the sound was terrifying. Then, the bees stormed his house, flying at a light near the back of his house.

The bees swarmed the house for hours, even entering the bedroom, and finally left Somchai’s house at around midnight. The next morning, Somchai was faced with thousands and thousands of bee remains all over his house. He asked his neighbours and they all said the bees visited their homes too. Luckily, no one was seriously injured.

Giant honey bees in Thailand are about 1 – 1.5 centimetres long and even one sting can be dangerous. Giant honey bee stings can be fatal if the victim is allergic to the bee’s venom or if they sting in large numbers. Cornell University apiculturist Roger Morse called Thailand’s giant honey bees “the most dangerous stinging insects on earth.”

Somchai said he has never seen this many bees migrating before, especially at nighttime. Usually, giant honey bees migrate in the daytime. Somchai suspects that someone tried to destroy the bees’ nest, forcing them to evacuate. In a paper published in the Journal of Insect Science in November 2021, a scientist from Wyoming discovered that Thailand’s giant honey bees take “pit stops” during their annual migration, temporarily gathering in trees before moving on.

Giant honey bees build their hives in the tallest of forest trees, so look upwards if you want a shot at seeing one in Thailand. If you have seen one, you’ll be familiar with the beautiful collective movement of the bees, famously called a “waggle dance” by 1940 Nobel Prize winner Karl von Frisch.

It’s easy to admire the bees from a distance, but not from your sofa. No wonder Somchai was terrified.

In April, a 90 year old woman from Chaiyaphum in northeast Thailand died from a wasp attack, suffering hundreds of stings all over her face and body. In 2019, a French couple watched their Thai tour guide get stung to death by a swarm of Asian hornets while trekking in Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand.



Courtesy ofThaiger News

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