When working in the relative safety of our own backyards, we don’t usually think something as serious as death could be waiting for us. We go about our daily lives and when at home don’t always take the same precautions as we would elsewhere. For one man this proved fatal when he was attacked by a swarm of yellowjackets while doing some simple yardwork. And this wasn’t a case of the person being allergic or ill already, but of a fit and healthy man in the prime of his life. Our backyards hold more danger than we realize.
Eric Dahl, a 48 year old father of two, was outside blowing leaves in his backyard when a swarm of what was initially thought to be bees swarmed out of the ground and headed straight for him. He was stung hundreds of times before he managed to barely make it to the back deck of his home and collapsed. He died only an hour later. This was a man that had just run six miles with his wife that morning, ate healthy, and was a very healthy individual. He had been stung by bees before, according to his wife, so he had no allergies to the stings that they knew of. It has been speculated that he was simply stung so many times that it overwhelmed his body and he had a heart attack.
The tragedy is really a wakeup call for all of us that work and play in our backyards and think we are safe. Especially during certain seasons. Certain times of the year seem to bring out all of the insects from hiding. We need to be aware of the times of the year when bees and yellowjackets can be a problem and take precautions. Experts stated that the insects were likely yellow jackets since they came from the ground. The time of year when Dahl was killed by them happened to be when yellowjacket nests reach their peak size, making them even more aggressive than usual. Unfortunately, incidents like this are more common than people realize, and we all have to be more careful when working or spending time in our yards. We aren’t the only ones using that space whether we like it or not.
Have you ever encountered a swarm of yellowjackets or know someone who has and lived to tell the tale?