A Kentucky man died in the emergency room Monday after being stung 15 to 20 times by a swarm of yellow jackets and bees, local authorities said. The insects attacked while he was moving a bag of potting soil on his porch.
Authorities have determined the cause of death to be respiratory failure due to beestings, although the investigation remains ongoing, Harlan County Coroner’s Office Deputy Coroner John Jones said.
The man carried underlying health issues that were likely worsened by the beestings, according to Jones, who declined to specify further on the specific nature of these conditions, citing patient privacy concerns.
When the man started to have trouble breathing after the incident, family members called 911 and initiated CPR, Jones said.
From his home in Evarts, Kentucky, he was then transported by an ambulance to the emergency room at a nearby hospital and died that evening, according to the coroner's office.
The coroner's office said in a Facebook post on Monday that they are withholding his name until family members can be reached. The man is survived by his wife and adult children, Jones said.
Encounters with insects can be deadly. Between 2011 and 2021, a total of 788 individuals died from hornet, wasp and bee stings, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.