A holidaymaker suffered a severe allergic reaction after he accidentally swallowed a bee while riding a bike in Coromandel this morning.

The 57-year-old Matamata man was airlifted to Waikato Hospital after suffering the sting near Whangamata, where he had been staying.

Trustpower TECT rescue helicopter pilot Liam Brettkelly said the man, who was allergic to bee stings, had been riding a bike when the insect flew into his mouth.

The man found it difficult to breathe so was taken to the local medical centre.


The Tauranga-based rescue helicopter was called to airlift him to Waikato Hospital, where he was admitted for observation.

St John Ambulance Mt Maunganui operations manager Gary Bishell said reactions to bee stings ranged from localised swelling to full-blown anaphylaxis - a sudden and severe allergic reaction that could lead to death.

However, the man did not suffer anaphylaxis, he said.

"In this case it was some localised swelling - he'd swallowed the bee and got stung in his throat, so he had some localised swelling in the throat.''

Mr Bishell said the concern was the airway would close up due to swelling.

However, the man was given medicine and was "reasonably okay''. He was taken to hospital as a precaution.