Victim doing reasonably well after hornet attack: husband

The 63-year-old Anja van de Wiel, one of four hikers who were hospitalized after being attacked by a swarm of hornets in an Eindhoven park on Monday night, has a difficult night behind her, but is doing relatively well, her husband told RTL Nieuws. "The bumps from the stings on her head are still very painful, so we slept badly", Jean-Mari van de Wiel said. 

Anja and a friend were hiking though a park on Kosmoslaan in Eindhoven when the swarm of hornets - a giant wasp species that can grow to around 3.5 centimeters long - suddenly attacked them. A total of four women were hospitalized after the attack. Anja and her friend were eventually sent home with anti-swelling medication and instructions to keep an eye out for an allergic reaction. The other two women were kept in hospital for observation, because they were stung over 20 times. 

According to Jean-Mari, more people were stung by the hornets, though he could not say how many. "I saw things lying everywhere, people simply ran away and went home", he said to the broadcaster. His wife is doing well under the circumstances. "We slept little, Anja's head is full of stings. And if she fell asleep, she awoke from a dream that she was being attacked again", he said. "Anja is still very sick of pain and medication."

Wasp expert Jan Smit is shocked by the attack. Hornets don't attack out of nowhere, he said to Brabants Dagblad. "The nest must have been disturbed by something. There is no other way", Smit, chairman of the Dutch Entomological Society, said. "Maybe a dead branch fell out of the tree and hit the nest, or an animal came to have a look. A dog? A squirrel?"

He understands that the hornet nest's location in a public park was unfortunate, but is still sorry that they were cleared. "Such a nest near a hiking trial is of course not handy, but maybe gates could've been placed? Those insects were there for a few months and it is not true that a nest will suddenly explode with hornets", he said to the newspaper. 

Smit denies that hornets become aggressive at the end of the summer season because of the absence of food. "Our hornets eat insects and do not depend on flowers, like the German 'lemonade wasp'. Those striped guys seek alternatives if the number of blooming flowers drops in the summer. So they end up in your glass when you're sitting on the terrace. You won't quickly find a hornet there."