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UPDATED: Glen Cove Still in Shock Following Public Worker’s Death

Family members and city officials continue to mourn the loss of Stephan Mueller, who died of hornet stings on Sept. 17.

Family, as well as city officials, remain stunned by the sudden death of Stephan Mueller, 47, a Glen Cove Department of Public Works employee.

“It’s very sad, the whole thing,” said Mueller’s mother, Romana. “We’re trying to manage. His fiancee is just trying to go from day to day.”

Mueller and his co-workers had been picking up branches and logs by the city water tower at Leech Circle when workers “must have picked up the wrong branch,” disrupting a wasps' nest, she recalled. Reports say he was stung more than 30 times.

Co-workers rushed him to nearby  in a matter of minutes.

“He was completely covered,” said Mueller in reference to the stings. Although Stephan was not allergic to bee stings, she believes it may have been the significant amount which caused the fatal accident. 

"Stephan loved his job working for the city where he was born and raised, and was proud to have it," she said. “Everything was going fine until this happened."

In terms of emergency treatment and first aid, Mueller hopes a new policy could be put in place to prevent such an accident from happening again: “I hope that after this, something is done."

Proof of the impact of Stephan’s death could also be seen at the , where Mayor Ralph Suozzi briefly mentioned the incident. Mueller was his first hire as Glen Cove mayor.

“Stephan was an important part of our community,” said Suozzi in a previous statement.

“Everything is still very fresh,” said Deputy Mayor Maureen Basdavanos. “We are trying to sit down with the [Public Works] Department, and the Mayor’s office, to figure out the best way moving forward. This is something we need to do.”

Adam Sawoch, a co-worker of Mueller’s, said things are “slowly getting back to normal” in the department.

Mueller was employed by the City of Glen Cove for the past five years, working first in DPW Sanitation Department. After suffering from a severe knee injury he received on the job, he was then switched to the Roads Department, according to his mother.

Mueller attended St. Patrick's , and . He also enjoyed playing soccer, and was apart of the Long Island League in the 1980s and 1990s.

Mueller leaves behind his mother and father, Romana and Stephan; his fiancee, Pamela Aranda; and three brothers.

Ms. Aranda declined to speak with Patch.

Funeral Services were arranged by in Glen Cove.

The CSEA is continuing to investigate the incident.

Donations may be made to the or North Shore Animal League.

Eileen Coles October 07, 2011 at 05:18 PM
People need to understand that hornets & wasps, unlike bees, do not die when they sting. They release a chemical that is very similar to banana oil when they sting, and the whole nest will smell it and attack en masse, stinging repeatedly. This is especially true if you accidentally crush one of them which releases a huge amount of the "nest under attack" chemical. To counter the scent carry some strong smelling insect repellent or essential oil, I use juniper because it also repels mosquitos, but eucalyptus works too. I also was able to confuse and escape attacking hornets by waving around freshly cut pine branches. The scent lasts for about a half hour, so get out of the area fast, cover up the scent if they are chasing you, and get it off you ASAP! Also, whatever you do, avoid any banana scented stuff when outdoors during July and August when they are most aggressive. Also remember that while wasps and hornets are predators, bees are helpful critters and they are not aggressive. They die if they sting so they only attack as a last resort. Bees are also essential to the ecosystem so don't confuse them for wasps and they are endangered, so if you find what you have is a honeybee hive then contact a local apiary to help rehome them. It is legal to keep bees in NY City now so you won't have to go far.

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