Saturday, September 8, 2018

A bee in the bonnet

A review of the "MonsterQuest" episode "Giant Killer Bees" 

Killer bees are no urban legend, but this episode of "MonsterQuest" is an example of the sensationalist media hype surrounding this rogue hybrid. The token sceptic (who is a trained entomologist) tries to tell the producers that killer bees can't live in cold or dry environments. Despite this, the "documentary" attacks the scientific viewpoint, choosing instead to believe in the words of an anthropologist whose main area of expertise seems to be the killer bee as cultural metaphor?! Yet, he claims that killer bees could spread all the way up to Canada and Alaska...

This remarkable statement is "proven" by an experiment in which a colony of killer bees survives cold storage by huddling together in the centre of the hive. Now, it took me about 15 minutes of research to find a scientific website (University of Florida) which indirectly debunks this "experiment": killer bees store much less honey than "European" honey bees, and would therefore die if forced to remain inside the hive for a more extended period of time. That's why they can't live in areas with long winters. The "MonsterQuest" experiment proves nothing.

Nor do I see the point of collecting killer bee samples from Nevada and Arizona - to the best of my knowledge, nobody denies that killer bees have been found in these states, certainly not Nevada! A quick glance at a Wiki range map could have solved *this* little mystery in about 15 seconds... The experiment supposedly proving that killer bees have become more aggressive is intriguing, but given the general character of this show, I'm going to assume that it, too, is bunk until proven otherwise...

I'm not the only one complaining about this particular episode of "MonsterQuest". Ironically, they are at their best when chasing Bigfoot! Something tells me the squatch won't have to cope with aggressive bee swarms when he's out looking for honey in British Columbia or Alaska, LOL.

Michael Moore (who claims that killer bees are an urban legend and hence don't exist at all), you have been forgiven!

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