Hiker Gets More Than 1,000 Bee Stings And Dies After Merkle Memorial Trail Swarm

As seen in the above photo, a swarm of bees covered Ahn Sang-kyu more than a decade ago. However, the South Korean bee farmer intentionally allowed more than 200,000 bees to swarm him in Seoul as a matter of protest. Another report about a swarm of bees attacking a 23-year-old man on Thursday, May 26, says that the more recent bee swarm was unprovoked. The report coming from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office by Sheriff Joe Arpaio describes how more than 1,000 bee stings killed a man who went on a hike at Usery Mountain Park in Maricopa County, Arizona.

The Merkle Memorial Trail is rated as an easy trail to hike, No. 8 out of 14 trails in Usery Mountain Regional Park, as reported by All Trails. However, it wasn’t the short 0.9-mile loop trail’s distance that killed Alex Bestler when the man visiting from Louisiana took to the Merkle Trail right before 9 a.m.

It was the huge bee swarm that attacked and killed Alex without warning. The swarm also tried to attack a woman with him, who is identified only as Sonya. According to the report, Sonya was on the trail in front of Alex when the swarm of bees came down on both of them. Sonya was able to escape the bees by hiding in a restroom, but Alex could not get safely to shelter before suffering more than 1,000 bee stings, which ultimately killed him.

As reported by the Arizona Republic, it is not known at this time whether or not Bestler suffered from allergies to bee stings. It also is not yet known if Alex died from being swarmed and stung by Africanized “killer” bees. What is known is that when employees of the park and another hiker, along with a sergeant and firefighters, were able to reach Alex, the bees covered his body, which was on the ground. The bees were aggressive and caused a delay in those trying to rescue him.

Eventually, Alex was relocated to a vehicle from the Sheriff’s Office — with the bees still covering the man. The swarm was aggressively pursuing the vehicle.

After being taken to the hospital, Alex was pronounced dead. Sheriff Arpaio warned the public that bee attacks are happening more often. Previously, a bee attack on the same day — Thursday, May 26 — caused a 51-year-old man in Phoenix to seek help at a hospital after being stung many times.

Other bee stories of swarms have covered the news as of late. As seen in the below video by ABC News, a swarm of bees followed another car in the U.K. after their queen was trapped within the vehicle for two days. That bee episode occurred in Wales and made international news.

The shocking news about the bee swarms has garnered a plethora of reactions on social media, leaving some to wonder what exactly they should do if a swarm of bees should approach them. As reported by the Associated Press, Africanized bees (aka “killer bees”) do not like noises, movement, or vibration, said one bee removal expert.

On Twitter, folks are adding their reactions to all the reports of bee incidents as of late.

“There are maybe 10 things in the world I am really concerned about and the bees are No. 1.”

“I am absolutely, sad because the man died. He was stung 1,000 times by the bees.”

“When everyone’s yelling about cub art and you realize bees are dying globally at an alarming rate.”

“Science: Bees are dying at an alarming rate — Kanye: ‘I’ma’ fix bees.”

“Vegans who don’t eat honey: How do you justify eating almond milk pollinated using farmed honey bees, I ask myself, while eating honey.”

[Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Images]