Pest controller dies after being stung by a wasp

A former soldier has died from being stung by a wasp after he took up a job as a pest controller without realising he was allergic to wasp stings. Lee Darker was pronounced dead shortly after he was attacked when removing a wasps nest at an army barrack in North Yorkshire on 17th September 2018. Lee suffered an allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis – he was found slumped in the passenger seat of his van outside the property. His death came two weeks after being stung 8 times by a wasp at another property, this was treated with cream and he suffered no similar symptoms. It is not known whether or not he was wearing the correct PPE clothing, however, he was always “meticulous” when following rules, an inquest heard.

Mr Darker, from Darlington, was part of the Royal Lancers in the British Army for 22 years before he left in 2010 and took a job at Mitie Pest Control in September 2017. One of the managers of the pest control firm said he had no problems during a health screening during training and was able to clear wasp’s nests without suffering any allergies.

The coroner, Robert Turbull, said “It’s a tragic outcome. He died as a result of anaphylactic shock. He was going about his business and died not anticipating this would happen.” Mr Darker’s wife, Barbara, said “This was the last thing you thought would have happened, especially considering his background in the army. Lee was not aware of any potential allergies he may have had.”

Back to blog