Thursday, October 13, 2011

I don't wann-a Beeeeeeeee.....

This afternoon while lunching with my colleagues at a nearby chicken rice stall, we encountered something very unusual. There were 2 bees constantly hovering around us and freaked most of my female colleagues out. I too gritted my teeth because the bees were less than 5 cm away from us most of the time. Then after hovering for a good 10 life-threatening seconds, one of them settled on my coke can!

None of my colleagues were having coke, or any drink in that matter... and I felt threatened by the bee. Took my coke can and tried to shake the bee away, but it just kept flying close to the can. The bee was so close to my hand I could almost feel its breath!

I put the can down, and it settled on the top of my can. Chased it away again, thankfully successfully on the second try and quickly drained out my coke. True enough, the bee came and settled on the top of the can, sipping the drops of coke around the groove on top of the can. It was an upclose encounter with a bee "in action". It was quite an amazing sight to see it so close, and to watch the size of the drops shrink one by one. The bee "drank" a few drops before flying away... and coming back again... repeating the same routine for a good 3 times.

I could imagine why the coke can attracted the bee... the striking red probably reminded them of flowers and the sweet coke reminded them of nectar. But what was amazing was that I since coke was carbonated, wouldn't the bees burp after sipping them? Imagine a fly sipping up different carbonated drinks and burping as it flies from one place to another.
That was also when I thought to myself... I shall give myself an assignment when I get home today. How to ward off bees!! And so, the outcome? This post!!

The main gist is that smoke relaxes bees and make them less likely to sting, and that essential oils and plant herbs ward off bees. Apart from the usual insect repellent sprays of course. On the other hand, perfumes attract bees. However, in the situation I was in today, I don't believe any of the "shoo-ing" methods would have been useful to me.

Came across a relevant video though. I'm sure you've seen a couple of chicken rice stalls hanging transparent bags filled with water at their stall fronts, where they chop their meat up. According to the chicken rice aunty in NIE, she said that its just a belief to chase houseflies away and have worked for her. Well, it would seem there are some truths behind it. Just that probably the older generations continued to do so because its just a technique passed down from generations to generations. It would seem that scientific studies have shown that the "invisible" prisms reflected off the bags irritates bugs, not just houseflies alone.

You can check it out at:

Just a short clip about a lady teaching you how to repel bugs by putting pennies in plastic bags filled with water. Similar concept, just that in this case there's additional pennies. Additional pennies, additional effects.. additional cost.

Then this idea (which just struck me) reminded me of another hearsay/belief. Ever wondered why people stick coins to cash registers and calculators? I have. I've heard that it has something to do with fengshui and will bring in more money. Did some google searching and ... well, not much info out there. It's plain simple. For luck.

Well, veered off a little there. Back to bees! Did you know that elephants can produce alarm calls to ward off bees? This discovery was made by a team of scientists from Oxford University and more information can be found at the link:

But it's actually more of alerting the tribe to stay away from the bees than to actually chasing the bees away. So, once again, interesting fact, but not relevant to my search for the answer.

It seems that all the "solutions" presented revolve around making your own bee repellents out of essential oils or planting strong smelling herbs such as thyme, spearmint and eucalyptus.

Based on these facts, if I ever see a bee a future, my best bet would be to get a bowl of hot soup, put it in front of me, and keep fanning the smoke around. (I absolutely do not condone smoking so even though the more obvious ans is there, I shan't even include it as one of my options.) Haven't tried it, but if anyone suay enough to encounter such a situation, and heng enough to try it, please do drop me a message to see if it really works.

Take home message of the day? And every other day? Knowledge is power. Wa la moments come from prior knowledge.

PS.: Photos are not mine and I claim no credit for them.

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