A 22-year-old Colombian woman Paula Andrea Ramos has died after falling off a cliff while fleeing a swarm of killer bees.while carrying out an assessment.
Paula Andrea Ramos Molina, a forestry engineer, had been part of a team carrying out an assessment in a rural area of the central Colombian district of Caldas.
Ms Ramos Molina and three of her colleagues accidentally dislodged a bee hive and were immediately attacked by a swarm of furious insects.
They quickly divided into pairs and as Ms Ramos Molina and her colleague fled the killer bees, they fell off a cliff.Ms Ramos Molina broke her neck in the fall and died instantly.
Her colleague, who has not been named, suffered severe injuries and multiple bee stings and remains in a ‘grave condition’ in hospital.
Killer bees, also known as ‘Africanised bees’, are a hybrid of the European honey bee and the larger and more aggressive African honey bee.
They were first introduced to Brazil in 1956 in an effort to increase honey production. However, the following year, 26 swarms escaped, and the hybrid bees rapidly spread out across South America.
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Their aggressive behaviour and highly venomous sting soon earned them the name ‘killer bees.’
Killer bees gather in swarms of up to 41,000 insects and have been known to chase people for up to a quarter of a mile.
Since their introduction to Brazil, they are believed to be responsible for the deaths of over 1,000 people as well as numerous horses and cows.
They continued to spread across America and in 1990 they were first spotted in Texas.