GOVERNMENT Senator Avinash Singh is in good spirits by his own admission and thanking God for sparing his life after he was stung by approximately 200 bees while working in his Chaguanas garden on Saturday.
“My condition remains the same but the doctors advise another 24 hours monitoring and treatment as my breathing has not gone back to normalcy as yet,” he wrote in a text message yesterday.
Singh, 28, the parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, recounted the attack in a vivid Facebook post on Sunday, saying the stings had left him virtually unresponsive.
He said around 1pm on Sunday he was helping his father in the garden when he accidentally drove over a beehive with a tractor.
“Upon realising the danger I was in, I immediately left the tractor and ran but was attacked by close to 200 bees, I ran towards a river for safety and cried for help while I felt each pierce of stings entering my face, head and body,” he wrote.
“I collapsed short of the river as my body became unresponsive and being further attacked on the ground, determined to go in the river, I got up and leaped in the river where 90 per cent of my body was submerged in water, mud and grass, only my face was exposed and the more I cried for help the more the bees stung me.”
He heard a voice telling him people were calling an ambulance and going for help, because they could not come to him as they had also been stung by the bees circling above Singh.
By that time, his body was “totally unresponsive, speech impaired, body in shock and in danger of drowning.” His father and nearby farmers bodily removed him from the river, put him in the tray of his van and drove towards a pick-up point for the ambulance.
Luckily, said Singh, they stopped by a village doctor who, upon learning of the emergency, immediately left his patients and gave him an injection for allergic reactions. The ambulance then took him to the Chaguanas Health Centre, where medical staff stabilised him.
“I only realized how many stings I got as the medical team began tweezing out the small needle-like stings which (were) attached to sacs of venom from the bees. Stabilising became challenging as there were so many stings and I began to vomit continuously what appeared to be a yellow liquid with a strong chemical smell.”
He was subsequently taken to Mt Hope Hospital, given additional treatment and warded.
He said he was feeling much better and “thanking God for life” but was still receiving oxygen support to help him breathe.
Singh thanked everyone who had helped him.
TT Beekeepers Association public relations officer Vearna Gloster warned farmers to take precautionary measures while working in bushy areas.
“Whenever any farmer is ploughing their garden and there is a lot of bush and you wouldn’t observe a beehive there, it is precautionary that farmers who are using tractors to make sure their tractors are enclosed, because this can happen to anyone,” she said adding the windows should remain closed at all times.
“Once you interfere with a beehive in a rough manner, this will occur because you upset the nest, they will become defensive. They will move to protect their queen and their colony...they only become defensive when they become upset or when someone affects their nest.
She said the reaction would be the same whether they were Africanised bees or regular honey bees.
Asked what someone should do if they were attacked, she said a good defence was to get out of the area as fast as possible or jump into a large body of water, as Singh had done.
“Try to get out of the area as fast as possible, and after they have calmed down you can go back with smoke or call the Abatement Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture,” she said.
She said such attacks were not regular occurrences and noted that bees were important assets in the pollination of crops.