Friday, September 7, 2018

Non-sensationalist, but the narrator needs a world map

Finally, a non-sensationalist documentary about "killer bees". Yes, they are aggressive and dangerous, and they really are the result of a failed scientific experiment during which fierce African bees were cross-bred with docile European honeybees. However, the killer bees can't live in temperate or cold climates, their aggressive behaviour (inherited from their African forebears) is a natural evolutionary adaptation to predators in Africa, and they actually produce honey. At a glance, killer bees are virtually impossible to tell apart from honeybees, since they *are* honeybees. Both the African and the European honeybee belong to the same species (Apis mellifera). Indeed, the scientist who inadvertently "created" the killer bee, Warwick Kerr, was interested in African honeybees precisely because some of them are highly productive. Nor did Kerr "create a monster" - his hybrid bees simply inherited the aggressive defence tactics found already in the African honeybee.

My only problem with this program is that the narrator (or perhaps his ghost writer) has completely misunderstood African geography. He places Tanzania in southern Africa and Kenya in West Africa?! Actually, both nations are in East Africa - they even border each other! Ironic that a documentary signed National *Geographic* is in bad need of a world map...and a compass.

It's fascinating to read the reactions to this objective documentary at other forums. Thus, one viewer claims that "Attack of the Killer Bees" doesn't show a single killer bee! Has he watched too many horror movies? Several others call Kerr "mad", and one fears that the killer bees will soon reach Wisconsin...

It seems it will take a long time before the general public will grok this one. But then, getting a more realistic perspective on killer bees might be harder than learning the basics of African geography.

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