A swarm of about 10,000 bees attacked residents living in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp yesterday, stinging four children and causing panic.
The attack, which was contained after an expert was brought in, went on for three hours.
Mustafa Ammar, who owns a pharmacy in the neighbourhood, said that he had first heard a loud buzzing.
“All of a sudden, thousands of bees covered windows and balconies. Then, all of them headed towards a tent in the area,” Ammar said.
Fouad Masri, who owns a sweet shop, was the target.
“The bees just attacked me and landed on the trays of sweets I had on display. The scene looked like something out of a movie, except this was real. I could do nothing but escape,” he said.
Area residents tried starting small fires and throwing stones at the swarm of bees but the attempts only increased the bees’ aggressiveness.
As a result, four children were stung on different parts of their bodies. Bilal Mallah, 12, said that he was stung all over his legs.
“The crazy bees stung me all over my legs because I was wearing shorts,” he said.
Residents finally called Motah Majzoub, the manager of the Islamic Welfare Association, which employs bee keepers.
After collecting the bees in a wooden box, keeper Bassam Dahabra said that the only explanation for the attack was that their hive had become too small for them.
“Bees usually react this way when their queen bee dies. Until they find another queen and another home, they will keep searching,” he said.
He said the reason it took him only 15 minutes to collect the bees in the box was because he had found the queen bee.
“No matter what, bees usually gather around their queen,” he said.