A History of Fashion July 1st, 2008 Credit Cards Vs Evil

Everybody knows that bees make honey. But how do the bee keepers get the honey without dying?... or being stung?

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“Everybody knows that bees make honey. But how do the beekeepers get the honey without dying? Or being stung? You’d die if you were allergic to bees. And they stung you. And you were a beekeeper. Which means you probably chose the wrong profession.

Sticking your hand in the hive and trying to scrape off all that goldeny goodness really just never seemed like a smart thing to do. Yeah, I know they have those bee suits, but they didn’t always have bee suits, and they’ve been harvesting honey for a long time. The secret is smoke, but we’ll get to that in a second. I just wanted to tell you now in case you don’t have enough time to watch the rest of the show.

Somewhere between kindergarten and second grade, we all learn that bees work together, but different bees have different roles. Some bees stand in front of the camera, and they get all the glory and attention, and other bees hide behind the camera, and they don’t get blamed or called idiots when people don’t like what they hear. Then there are queen bees who just kick back and make all the babies, and then there are the baby bees, and the drones, and the worker bees, and you get the idea. Some of the middle-aged bees act as guards for the hive, because they’re the ones with the venom. Watch out for those middle-aged ones; they are deadly. And aren’t they female? The F of the S is more V than the M, after all.

When the guard bees get all riled up, they release a pheromone called isopentyl acetate – yeah. That’s the alarm odor that notifies the other middle-aged bees to defend the hive. [Sniffs] Do you smell something? Smells like trouble. It’s like walking into a room of angry feminists and saying, “Hi, ladies, what are you doing this evening? I’m a man!” Isopentyl acetate: it’ll kill ya.

Here’s where it all comes together: before the beekeepers go in and rip out the bees’ hard work, to put it in funny little bear-shaped jars, they use little smokers and shoot smoke into the hive. The smoke dulls the guard bees’ receptors, and they fail to receive or pass the signal along. I respect you as my equal. No, superior. That’ll keep the signal from transferring. Smoke. As an added bonus, the smoke makes the bees gorge themselves with honey; they get all loaded up in case they have to fly away from the hive. And as you can probably guess, honey makes bees lethargic. “Girl, I ate so much honey I can’t even possibly defend the hive!” “Do I look fat in these stripes?” “Oh no you didn’t tough my honey!” None of these comments are meant to be racist or sexist in any way. It’s just supposed to be funny. Bees are deadly; women are deadlier. Please don’t hurt us.

But they might not have to worry about defending anything for much longer. Bees all over the place are suffering from CCD: Colony Collapse Disorder. Commercial beehives are dying off at an alarming rate – like 40-90% per year, depending on who you believe, and whose hives, and how many bees. You may have seen articles in the news and figured, “It’s just bees – who cares?” But actually, bees are really important in the agricultural industry. Because at least 1/3 of our farm produce involves bee pollination. That’s right: no bees, no food. Well, for some crops, anyway.

People are blaming it on everything from pesticides to mites, to cell phones, but the real answer is, no-one really knows what’s happening. Except Hollywood: they know, and they’re making a movie about it. Thanks, M. Night Shalam-malalam– sha-malan– Shyamalan. I think that’s it. Sorry. He’s famous anyway; he doesn’t care. But unlike that story, this one doesn’t have a twist at the end. The bees are actually dying, and we need to figure out why. Why? Because I like honey. If you know what I’m saying. Just kidding. [Laughs]

Transcribed by: Justin G.

A few bee articles

Mystery of the dying bees
What’s Killing The Honeybees?

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  • 2/4/09 @ 16:03


    Awesome reporting on the matter. This site does not cease to amaze me.

  • 11/18/08 @ 11:24


    Oh, and Marc, you're right about the behavioral studies. In fact, I remember reading a couple years ago that a team had successfully trained wasps to sniff out (I think) drugs (maybe bombs). If I recall, the training consisted of filtering in the particular scent alongside a reward of sugar, and after a few repetitions, the wasps were conditioned to gravitate toward the source of that scent - in ... (more)
  • 11/18/08 @ 11:21


    Hey, guys, great show, as always, but given your usual level of research and level analysis, I think the end of this video was a trifle on the alarmist side. Sometimes you have to filter out the Media-Attention-Getter Factor, which lends any story to a good deal of exaggeration. In this case, if you look at the news stories about it, you'd think there won't be any bees left within the next five ... (more)
  • 8/13/08 @ 20:43


    Put a penny on it if you get stung. It really works!

  • 7/15/08 @ 22:02

    Daniel Navetta

    I saw a show on nat geo or something like that, and it said something different than any of those things. It said that some mutant bee has been let loose (not the africanized honey bee) that is a fake queen bee. The queen bee makes workers work for her, and mate with her, she eventually has babies and all of her babies are exact clones of her. They eventually stop having worker babies and have ... (more)
  • 7/7/08 @ 19:31


    Bees are deadly, women are deadlier, please don’t hurt US!?
    You a woman now? LOL.

    Nice save with the disclosure statement. High Five!

  • 7/2/08 @ 20:31

    Soul Sister

    I finally found my sister from another mister! :) You go girl! And you look great in those stripes.

  • 7/2/08 @ 9:27


    Oh my goodness, funniest description of a dull subject ever! *Smoke* Love it.

  • 7/2/08 @ 7:52


    You know what else is interesting about honey bees? They are often used in behavioral studies on cognition, sensation and perception. Believe it or not, a honey bee is easily trained with something as simple as sugar water. And they accomplish task decently if trained properly. When I was in college, I really wanted to be active in the honey bee lab... but I am allergic, so instead I trained m ... (more)
  • 7/2/08 @ 6:42


    I have to say this episode went from bees to feminism to M. Night Shamalamalama … lamalama. Great all the same. I think we need a t-shrit that says “Do I look fat in these stripes?”

    Any word about my Club 22 membership?

  • 7/1/08 @ 19:54


    M. Knight Schamalamadingdong.

    At least that’s the way I say his name. Makes the wifey smile. And as you said . . . women can be deadly. ;-)

  • 7/1/08 @ 19:32


    Global warming is the cause of feminist….not bees dying out. Al Gore is might be responsible for their demise. I’m just saying.

  • 7/1/08 @ 18:45


    Didn’t you learn when you were little and you got in line? First is the worst and second is the best! Lol. I love honey! SOOO GOOD!

  • 7/1/08 @ 18:17


    1st? Yes, 1st! Timing is everything. Always wanted to bee first.

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