Friday, June 25, 2010

Bees, Psychics, Demons

Ali Kokmen and I have been keeping track of what seem to be increasingly common (or just as likely, more frequently reported) bee swarm attacks.  A related incident has struck his old home state of Minnesota, where a crashed truck unleashed millions of bees.  I hope all these incidents are not part of a sinister bee/alien invasion scheme, as in the first X-Files movie — especially since, as Ali notes, New York City has just legalized bee-keeping.

(The legalization is good news, I suppose, though probably not something I can work into the script of the next episode of Freedom Watch, which all of you with Fox Business Network [Channel 43 on Time Warner Cable in Manhattan] should be watching Saturdays at 10am and 8pm, Sundays 7pm and 11pm.  This weekend brings Barry Goldwater Jr., more Ron Paul, and a colonel who says McChrystal was describing the situation in Afghanistan too positively, among other things.)

Despite my loyalty to the bitter end of the X-Files experience, I am of course a skeptic, so I was pleased to hear that there is a skeptical-sounding thriller coming out with Sigourney Weaver as a debunker up against a famous “psychic” who’s coming out of retirement.  It’s Hollywood, so she may end up fighting aliens again by the end (not unlike Scully), but like X-Files, perhaps this film, Red Lights, will at least work in some real skeptical arguments.

On the other hand, I’m also pleased to see that a stage version of C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters, about a demon tempting humans, is being performed for at least one more month at Westside Theatre (407 W. 43rd Street).  But then, aren’t all theatre people tools of Satan?  That Stephanie Courtney woman in the Progressive Insurance ads, for example, is plainly possessed, like most improv comedy troupe folks.


Tim Watson said...

“Africanized” bees really do behave differently, and

are spreading around the Southwest US

Todd Seavey said...

I will not be dragged into the immigration debate again.

James Fischer said...

Bees are never aggressive, and sting only in defense of their hive. The so-called “Africanized Honey Bees” are merely more defensive, and defend a larger area around their hive than the more docile European Honey Bees.

Now that we have eliminated the term “attack” from any phrase involving bees, the legalization of beekeeping in NYC is a very good thing. I run the Gotham City Honey Co-Op, and we are providing the pollinators for gardens where food is being grown. If you want local food, you need local bees.

You really have nothing to fear from a bee unless you go kick a beehive. A few of us spent an entire day inside a tent with a beehive, and showed the visitors the bees, opening the hive over and over all day. No one got stung all day. Yes, it takes skill, but not much. The teenager in the photo has only been keeping bees since April of 2010.

When a truckload of bees overturns, the bees are confused, but it is common for beekeepers to reassemble the hives and put them on another truck, and the bees find their hives by scent, so everything calms down fairly quickly. In cases where the DOT or police insist, the road can be opened much more quickly if the bees are sprayed with soapy water (which kills them), but this is a cruel way to deal with the problem.

James Fischer said...

Here’s the link of the teenager trapped inside a screened tent with thousands of stinging insects all day:

Those interested can get on the mailing list here:

Todd Seavey said...

By an odd coincidence, _First Things_ linked to me today for what may be the first time (I hope I’m not forgetting a link from Helen’s brief stint there), due to my entry mocking freeganism yesterday, making me item #18 on a list by Joe Carter of “Thirty-Three Things” — and item #19 happens to be a sculpture of Jesus created by bees (it’s all connected, clearly):

And with that, I’m going to get ready to watch my Catholic, libertarian, animal-loving farmer boss (who produces things like maple syrup rather than meat) on FBN’s _Freedom Watch_ this morning — 10am and 8pm Eastern, Sun. 7pm and 11pm).

cb said...

I’m sure James could speak to this more knowledgeably, but the somewhat unexplained but surely not alien related colony collapse disorder has in just the past 3..4 years tripled the price of renting hives for pollination purposes (Farmers rent hives to pollinate crops).

As a long time lover of honey, I’ve noticed the price of honey itself go up 1.5X from its 2005 prices..closer to 2X in Manhattan (though hopefully that will be better with the opening up of local hives).

Perhaps this CCD driven price spike is spurring a larger market with less experienced hive transport workers, or perhaps measures to isolate hives are causing more accidents, or, as you said, perhaps it’s just more reported.