(some corrections in the notes!)
Jeb Card and Blake Smith discuss the In Search Of episode: KILLER BEES. Will aggressive Africanized honey bees destroy the world? Is every problem a metaphor for colonialism? Tune in and find out!
Watch episode on YouTube
I’ve attached some relevant articles from the time, one on bees and one on ISO.
Radioactive Wasps (Correction: Location was at HANFORD not HANSON site – corrected here, but I’m not cutting out my joke about Hanson. -B)
Jeb mentioned Japanese Giant Wasps – those are described here. (They’re wasps, only giant – and from Japan. That’s good marketing in the name.)
Jeb was right to bring this beastie up in conjunction with bees. From the Wikipedia article:
In Japan, beekeepers often prefer European honey bees because they are more productive than the endemic Japanese honey bees. However, it can be difficult to maintain a captive hive of European honey bees, as the giant hornets are devastating to the bee hives. Once a Japanese giant hornet has located a hive of European honey bees, it leaves pheromone markers around it that quickly attract nest-mates to converge on the hive. An individual hornet can kill forty European honey bees per minute, while a group of 30 hornets can destroy an entire hive containing 30,000 bees in less than four hours. The hornets kill and dismember the bees, returning to their nest with the bee thoraxes, which they feed to their larvae, leaving heads and limbs behind. The honey and bee larvae are also taken to feed the hornet larvae.
Another correction – I think I called them “hornet killers” or something similarly stupid, but I was talking about the very large American “Cicada Killer” wasps. But that’s not what Jeb was talking about (see above). The Cicada Killer is big enough to – you guessed it – kill a cicada. They’re not as insanely beefy as the Japanese hornets, but they’re big beefy units.
Frequently on-screen expert Dr. Norman Gary is a Bee Wrangler for Hollywood, working on Candyman, X-Files, etc.
Dr. Gary playing clarinet covered in bees.
Contemporary newspaper article about ISO and this episode.