How to Escape from Killer Bees?


Last year a new species of hornet was found in the Pacific Northwest of America. Daubed as "Murder Hornets", these insects can grow to over 5 cm in length and have a sting that'll not be forgotten by those unfortunate enough to feel it. Originally hailing from Asia, they feed on regular honey bees and can destroy a whole hive in a matter of hours. The "murder" part of their name comes from the fact that they simply bite the heads off the worker bees and then discard their bodies in piles. They don't eat the grown bees but take their larvae back to their own nest to feed to their young. 

The Swarm And Others

In the God-awful 1978  movie "The Swarm", the US city of Houston is under attack from killer bees which either eat or sting their way through the whole film as well as all those terribly stiff actors and bit part players. It's just one of a line of low-grade junk cinema featuring bees and including such stinkers as "Invasion of the Bee Girls" (1973), "Killer Bees" (1974), "The Savage Bees" (1976), "The Bees" (1978), and "Terror Out of the Sky" (1978). The British actor Michael Caine had the lead role and later claimed that with the proceeds of his lazy efforts at least he got a house in Las Angeles out of it. 

Click Bait Killer Bees

Going back to the 1970's there was a huge media storm about an oncoming invasion by African Honey bees, which were given the moniker of, wait for it..."killer bees". Yep, click-bait headlines are nothing new. The press is so dumb it makes your head hurt. Never the less, this story was destined to run as front page fodder for at least a year. The problem with it was that these bees were in fact much smaller than their US brethren. And their sting much less painful. But having said all of that, you still wouldn't want to get too up close and personal with a swarm of them. The thing that makes hornets a worse proposition than bees, is that the former can sting over and over, whereas bees just sting the once and then depart this mortal coil, off to the great hive in the heavens.

So if you happen to meet up with and disturb a nest of hornets or bees, how should you escape from certain insect acupuncture? Let's have a look...

Escape By Running Away

Yes, this advice is really that basic and sensible. Not that we'd imagine you would be hanging around waiting to see what happens. Just run (as in "run Forrest, run"). And keep running. And just a bit more. Do we also have to tell you when to stop? Don't stand still in the hope that they'll leave you alone. Killer bees will somehow know that you're faking. And then you'll be in a whole world of pain for your lack of effort. 

Cover Your Face

No, not with honey! With your shirt or any material for that matter. African Honey bees will target your head and neck areas as a matter of course, so try and cover your face with anything including your hands. Obviously look where you're going as well as you beat a hasty escape. 

Escape By Finding Shelter

Anywhere with a closing door will work. Make sure you stuff anything at hand in the cracks under the door and around the vents. The bees will swarm around any possible opening. Like a scene from the horror franchise, "The Candyman".  It's as if they have a determined common mind-set and will work as a single unit of pain and Hell-fire to get to you, whatever the personal cost to each individual bee. Stinging you is but a small sacrifice.

Turn Off Any Lights

Bees will be attracted to any artificial light, so keep them off. If it's daylight then darken all the windows but one by drawing the curtains. Any bees in the room with you will naturally be drawn to the one window with daylight. You should be able to open the window (very slightly) and let them out.

Helpful Points

Remove bee stingers as quickly as possible. This will limit the venom that enters your system. Use an flat hard object like a credit card by scraping the surface of your skin around the sting. After the bees stings, the stinger and the venom gland become detached from the bees body, and a reflex action will keep the venom gland pumping.

Don't Swat At Them

Yeah, this sounds crazy, but all you'll end up doing is making the swarm more agitated. And with agitation will come even greater aggression. Once a single bee has stung, they release a pheromone which is a signal for the other bees to help themselves. They will swarm more fiercely and it will not end well. Just turn around and run to make your escape. There's no pride at stake here. There's no shame in running away from killer bees. 

Don't Jump Into Water To Escape

The problem with jumping into a body of water is that the bees will simply swarm around where you went in. Waiting for you to come up for air. It's really weird because they are just insects. But with their collective hive mind they really do appear to operate as one deathly unit of hurt. Hiding in water is just proof that they are actually smarter than you.  

Some Folks Will Need Immediate Medical Attention

With five percent of the population allergic to bee stings, there's always the possibility that someone is going to go into shock if they are stung. Any problems with breathing need to be addressed at ER as soon as possible as these can be life threatening symptoms.

Preventing the Attack

Don't throw rocks at hornets nests. Or big sticks at bee hives. Seriously, don't do it! Also don't wear dark clothing as bees are genetically programmed to assume that those are enemies like bears or badgers. So light colors all the way. Also the color red appears as black to the bees. Now you know. If you accidentally come across a hive or nest, don't approach it. Bees and hornets will feel threatened and will almost instantly start to swarm and attack. Keep your ears open. If you hear the sound of bees, then you're on the wrong path. Just stay well away from such areas. Another point is if you find a number of bees either gathering around you or flying into you, this is a sure sign that an attack is imminent. So start running and seek shelter as you'll only have a few moments to make your escape.

If you're with someone or a child who gets stung then immediately look for signs of an allergic reaction. This can include severe swelling and/or breathing difficulties. Because kids are smaller, then they are more susceptible to the bees venom thanks to their lower body weight. Any signs of anything amiss and get yourself to ER tout suite.

Conclusion: Be Nice To Bees

Finally remember kids, that we're really only talking about these invasive "killer bees" and hornets. Your regular honey bee is a model of love and kindness (they make honey for Christ sake!). So there's no need to be afraid of all bees. Just the one's with murder in their black hearts. Honey bees spend their lives collecting pollen for the hive. Sometimes when they feel threatened then they will exit the hive and bump into you. This is a warning. So just leave the area. Keep in mind that when a bee stings it dies. So for their own survival that'll be a last resort.