I saw this story in the Union-Tribune a week ago.

It was about brothers in Los Angeles that had a bees’ nest in their backyard. They decided the nest should be removed from their shed and that the best way to do this would be using an illegal firecracker they had.

The explosion blew out a window in their house, which cut one of them up. He needed medical attention, so off to the car they went.

But the glass cutting him wasn’t the only problem. Three angry bees flying around outside, decided to get some revenge. They stung him in the driveway. Not a big deal for most people, but it turns out he was allergic to bee venom and died of asphyxiation on the way to the emergency room.

I’m guessing that will make News of the Weird at some point.

When I was five, I found that paper wasps had a huge nest in our garage in Mira Mesa. For years I had seen wasps fly into our garage and head for the rafters. One day, I decided to watch where one flew.

Once I found the nest, I called the older brothers in for reinforcement.

It was so high, they weren’t sure what to do. I got on a ladder and used a chopstick. Nobody ever said 5-year-old make the best decisions.

I stuck the stick into the nest, and a wasp came out. It walked up the chopstick, as I slowly walked down the ladder. My brother held an empty jar for us to keep it.

I’m not sure why I didn’t drop the chopstick, but I was scared. It climbed onto my hand and promptly stung my pinky.

I ran screaming, and my mom came outside. All she kept saying as she looked at it was “I don’t see a stinger. Are you sure you were stung?”

I found out later that wasps don’t lose their stinger and die the way bees do.

My older brother than grabbed a garden house. We turned it on, and climbed into the small Ford Pinto my mom had in the garage. We rolled down the window just enough, and aimed the hose.

The nest came down and wasps were everywhere.

We waited for almost half an hour before the garage cleared out. And the nest (made from chewed up wood) was beautiful to look at and study (it still had a few eggs inside).

I’d occasionally see wasps for the next few days, fly up and look for their home. I would’ve felt bad. But I was five. And one of those little bast***s had stung me. I considered it war.

Now, I haven’t heard anything on the Killer Bees. Weren’t they supposed to be here by now?


thestoryteller Dec. 29, 2009 @ 11:52 p.m.

I don't know about bees, but we've had rats for the first time since we moved here in 1994. Gross! The pest control guy was stunned when he found out we have three dogs in the house. They are too comfy and warm to get out of bed to chase rats at night. They seriously need to start earning their keep!


redsoxfan Dec. 30, 2009 @ 12:06 a.m.

Pistol, what did we say about Wiki links? ;) Just kidding....

Storyteller, start threatening your dogs with the talk of getting a cat that will chase the rats! I have two cats...I don't see rats, mice, or even spiders...they really clean the place up!

Josh, as far as wasps, your story cracked me up...when my Mom had an additional room built onto her house in MM, a wasp nest showed up afterwards. Of course, curiosity got the best of me, but never to the extent you guys did. I think my older brothers took it down with Raid wasp killer that shoots like 20ft or something. I just remember when it came down and wasps were everywhere....I think I was 9...good times!!


Josh Board Dec. 30, 2009 @ 12:48 a.m.

I jinxed myself.

Today at the park, my dog was stung by a bee in his foot. He went ape s***, hopping around in pain. Then he kept throwing up and sounded like he was having trouble breathing.

A trip to the vet, and $300 later, he's at home again licking my face and begging for treats.

Good times :(


a2zresource Dec. 30, 2009 @ 1:15 a.m.

By the age of ten or so, most kids know from bitter experience that it's hard to win a war with a bee hive - and attacking a wasp nest is like taking on the Death Star at Full Power - Fully Operational.

Good thing you or your brother thought of using the family armored vehicle. Most kids aren't that resourceful.


rickeysays Dec. 30, 2009 @ 2:52 a.m.

I don't know if the guy will make News of the Weird, but I hope he wins a Darwin Award.


Joe Poutous Dec. 30, 2009 @ 8:59 a.m.

Great read Josh.

I have been really interested in bees for along time. Mainly their disappearance. I could write a long (boring) dissertation on why I think that they in danger... There are alot of theories out there, and not enough action.

If you discover a hive in your yard and wish it removed, Don't try to do it yourself. Most people try poison, killing the hive or just pissing them off. You simply end up with a bunch of dead & angry bees and make the job hard on the bee guy.

Hire a company that relocates the hive. Do a little research before you call and have them destroyed.

We need the bees. I like food.

  • Joe

Josh Board Dec. 30, 2009 @ 9:53 a.m.

bees fascinate me as well. the way they do that dance, to tell others, where the flowers are. just amazing. i always wondered...if you see a bee that is lost, is it one that didn't pay attention during the dance? or was too embarassed to stop and ask the butterfly for directions?

also, i thought i saw a story on the bees disappearing, and how it had to do with those mites that attacked them.

when i worked overnights at the post office for years, one time i was in charge of the trucks on the back dock. this guy was given a package that didn't belong in his truck. it had a queen bee, which i was told, are very expensive. the honeymakers buy them...and it was just in this regular, yellowish package, that looked like it had a few holes (but not the types of holes you could see in). it was strange.

it had to be delivered to the proper truck driver by hand, as it would get crushed in the thing with all the other packages.

so, it's on my desk out there...and it's 4 a.m. I'm at the other end of the building and some driver was telling me he was given some package and he needed me to take it back inside. I'm walking towards him, and he just sort of tosses it on the desk...DIRECTLY ON TOP of the package with the queen bee in it. i don't know what happened, or if the queen bee survived the ordeal.

although, the rest of the evening, i was thinking about the muddy watters song King Bee and felt bad that some company paid big bucks for something that the post office may have just destroyed.


PistolPete Dec. 30, 2009 @ 10:12 a.m.

One theory about the mass of bee, wasp and hornet deaths is the abundance of empty enegy drink cans. Supposedly, they're dying because they're attracted to the sweetness of the last drops inside the can but can't handle the caffeine and other vitamins that bees don't normally get. Not sure if this is true or not but it makes sense.


Josh Board Dec. 30, 2009 @ 3:37 p.m.

It doesn't really make a lot of sense, as...how many energy drinks can possibly be out there, compared to the number of bees that are going to their regular stompin' grounds -- flowers!

Although, the thought of those Africanized bees, on an energy drink "buzz"...sounds dangerous.


PistolPete Dec. 30, 2009 @ 4:37 p.m.

I'll put it to you this way Josh...when I worked at Shell in Carmel Mountain, I used to stock at least 5 cases of energy drink products every night I worked. That's 120 cans x 7 days a week. You do the math. I'm not saying I'm right and you're wrong. I'm simply saying look at the evidence that points to that theory. Later tonight I'll look for some on-line evidence to say yay or nay.


David Dodd Dec. 30, 2009 @ 9:06 p.m.

To kill wasps, get some rubbing alcohol and put it into a spray bottle and spray them. Problem solved. When I was a kid and I worked in the foundry, one of my tasks was to inventory some of the molds that sat outside on skids. Wasps would often build nests inside of the molds. The alcohol killed them instantly.


thestoryteller Dec. 30, 2009 @ 9:14 p.m.

Redsox: I hadn't thought of this, but up until 1 1/2 years ago, I rescued cats! That's probably why we didn't have rats! Terriers were originally bred to dig for vermin, and my pittie is a good digger. When we heard noises in the oven, she's the dog who went nuts, but we didn't see any rats.

When my daughter was at home, she said I made life too comfy for them because someone tried to break into my car right outside my bedroom window, and the dogs didn't make a peep. Scratched the paint, dented the door. She said I should keep my electric blanket turned off so they won't be lazy.

The dog pictured above was caught shaking a cat in a neighbor's garage when animal control officers picked her up. Cats aren't a good idea around here. But thanks to the pest control company, we've been ratless for a week.

Josh: Sorry about Cotton. My Lab got stung at the dog park two years ago. She lifted her paw and started drooling. I had to carry and drag all 65 pounds of her to the car. And yes, it was expensive. If you have pet insurance, you'll get reimbursed.


Joe Poutous Dec. 31, 2009 @ 8:07 a.m.

I really think it's a combination of factors.

  1. Bees are a huge industry. Trucks loaded with hives drive to orchards and farms and stay for however long the contract is for then drive to the next job. This has been going on for years. Very few farmers use natural pollination anymore.

  2. The mites.

  3. The poison that kills the mites does a good job killing the mites, but it also reduces the life of the bees... by about 1/3 I think.

  4. RF. Bees are theorized to be sensitive to the radio frequencies from the higher bands used by cellular phones and other communication devices. The usage of these devices over the last 10 years has been incredible. Know anyone without a cell phone? Me neither.

  5. Africanization.

  6. Pesticides. There is a poison that is being used that stops the bees ability to dance. Google: Bayer's neo-nicotinoid.

Pete, I hadn't hears about the Taurine argument, who knows though.

  • Joe

Josh Board Dec. 31, 2009 @ 9:30 a.m.

Pete...that certainly is a lot more energy drinks then I imagined going out the door.

But, I only see an empty can of them once a day. It's not like they are scattered all over town or anything enough to what I would think could cause something like you stated.


PistolPete Dec. 31, 2009 @ 9:50 a.m.

Geez Joe....That's an unusual list of suspects.

Josh, looking at Joe's list of suspects, one wonders if the energy drink/Taurine argument wasn't just thrown out there willy-nilly.


Joe Poutous Jan. 1, 2010 @ 8:07 a.m.

It's a combination of factors. All need to be looked at and solutions need to be put into place.

No bees = no tomatoes. no oranges. no nuts.

No strawberrys.

No PB&J. No Spaghetti.

  • Joe

thestoryteller Jan. 1, 2010 @ 2:05 p.m.

As luck would have it, my dog, Bliss stepped on a bee at the dog park today. I called an urgent care in Escondido to ask how much anti histamine to give her, and the girl said, "You do know that giving antihistamine by mouth doesn't do any good don't you?" She had an attitude like I was the dumbest person on earth. She said it would cost me several hundred dollars for shots to make her well. I have had problems with that place before. If their cash register isn't ringing, they treat you with disdain. I told her that I didn't want to bring my dog in unless she got worse.

In Josh's case, he had to take Cotton in because the dog was going into anaphylactic shock. The signs are: throwing up, weakness, trembling, diaherrea, breathing quickly, wheezing, has pale gums, fever or collapses.

I'm keeping an eye on her for now. From now on, I'm taking my pets to California Vet Specialists on Rancho Santa Fe in San Marcos. They treat me very well and I trust them.


Josh Board Jan. 3, 2010 @ 2:17 p.m.

Karen, it's been settled. STOP SAVING BEES from the pools. Let the little bast'ds drown! Drown, I say!!!

Yes, sure, tiki will read this and give me a list of fruits that bees help create. But ya know what? Just like Jim Gaffigan...I'm not a big fruit eater anyway.


katerina Jan. 5, 2010 @ 1:01 p.m.

Fun story, Josh and great line about five-year-old decision making. Thank goodness Cotton is all right! Yep, $300 later. But that and the treats are small prices to be paid for those doggie facials. Little known fact: in clinical trials dog spit was proven 94% as effective as retinol in erasing wrinkles and six times more effective than the leading acne formula in zapping zits. OK, not really. But hey, probably no one has ever conducted such a clinical trial, so who's to say?


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