Woman dies after Asian hornet sting

68-year-old suffers heart attack after severe allergic shock left her in a coma

A WOMAN has died in hospital in Bordeaux after being stung by an Asian hornet frelon asiatique.

The 68-year-old woman suffered a heart attack from anaphylactic shock after a severe allergic reaction to the sting and had been in a coma for two weeks.

She had been attacked by a swarm of hornets at her home in Cap-Ferret (Gironde), but was only stung once.

Entomologist Claire Villemant, of the Natural History Museum, told L'Express that single hornet stings were not dangerous - though painful - unless a person was allergic to the venom. There were about 15 deaths on average each year from wasp, bee or hornet stings.

She said that asian hornets would not attack people unless provoked - by swatting, for example - but if people got close to their nest then a swarm could attack to defend the nest.

The asian hornet - Vespa velutina - has so far moved into 50 departments since arriving in France in 2004 on a cargo ship from China. It is carnivorous and preys on bees, wasps and flies.
Photo: R.Legrand