Bees!

Earlier this week I wrote about a group of ninja students who foiled an alley mugging in Australia. This alone has strengthened my belief that real life is becoming more and more like a poorly written comic book, so you can imagine my reaction when I read that a swarm of bees descended upon Manhattan on Monday.

According to the Associated Press, 15,000 bees swarmed Wall Street, specifically targeting the high-end Cipriani restaurant. No injuries appear to have been reported, leading me to believe this wasn’t an actual assault by the bees but rather a reconnaissance mission.

I understand that not everybody wants to see this event for what it is. The AP filed it under their “Strange” news section, where it currently sits between “Pa. pair born in same hospital on same day to wed” and “NHL team seeking help to flush Pa. arena’s toilets” (apparently two thirds of the country’s strange news comes from Pennsylvania). I expected the AP to have the journalistic integrity to report this story with the gravitas it warrants, but they insist upon treating it as some kind of wacky filler. I do have to applaud them, though, for the restraint they showed in only featuring a single bee-related pun in their coverage of the Memorial Day Bee Invasion (or B-Day, if you will). They could have easily thrown in phrases like “The scene on Wall Street was un-bee-lieveable!” or “Somebody needs to stop this swarm bee-fore it’s too late!”

I’m not saying that the bees are plotting anything. That would be crazy. I do, however, want to point out that bees have been “mysteriously” vanishing for several years, and that this would be the perfect cover for their attending secret bee military training camps. So do the math.

There are some positive effects bees have on the world. They produce honey, pollinate flowers, and killed Macaulay Culkin in My Girl, but none of that goodwill excuses their antagonistic behavior.  I don’t care how much honey they’ve produced or how many flower couples they’ve hooked up through pollination, bees are not to be trusted. They can organize into swarms of thousands that somehow seem to act as one unit. Ask a bee its name and it will say, “My name is Bee-gion, for we are many.”

Eric Bonnetain, Cipriani’s general manager, attributed the bee swarm to the fact that their queen was trying to get into the restaurant and the other bees were following her. Really? Haven’t we heard the “I was just following orders” excuse before? You can laugh at the implications now, but who will be laughing in a few years when we’re under the tyranical rule of Nazi bees (or Nazbees, a term for which I have a trademark pending)?

In all fairness, the bees were pretty easily defeated by Anthony Planakis, the NYPD’s bee handling officer (a job that somehow actually exists). Planakis sucked the bees into a vacuum, then transported them to a Connecticut bee farm (or, more likely, bee detainment center). After hearing that detail, I suddenly find it hard to take the bee terrorists seriously. Any attack that can be thwarted by a Dirt Devil probably wasn’t going to succeed anyway.

And really, the more you think about it, the more “send swarm of bees to Manhattan” sounds like the laziest Legion of Doom strategy ever. The Super Friends could’ve sent Aqua Man by himself to take care of it, and he wouldn’t even have had to ask any fish for help.

So perhaps I’m overthinking this bee thing. For now, the uneasy honey producer/honey consumer relationship between bees and humans will continue, with each eyeing the other shiftily and waiting to see who will blink first.

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