“NOBODY MESSES WITH OUR BEES,” SAYS BEEKEEPER.
Because America isn’t suffering enough, it’s now apparent that Japanese “Murder Hornets” are invading North America, with sightings in Washington State as well as two more sightings in British Columbia. The two-inch hornets have one goal and one goal only, to kill honeybees.
The hornets attack the beehives, decapitating and killing the adults and eating the larvae and pupae. Just a few of the hornets can completely destroy a hive in a matter of hours. They later stick around and taunt the dead while playing festive music and making “nyah-nyah-nyah” sounds. If a human gets in the way, good luck. The hornets’ stings can actually kill people, with wounds that feel like fire.
With a decrease in global honeybee populations, populations that we require to produce food, the U.S. has declared that these hornets will not survive in this country. To combat them, America is unleashing a secret weapon they’ve been nurturing for over two decades, kick-ass killer bees.
Stoney Moonglow, a seventy-five-year-old beekeeper, was in charge of the project. He agreed to speak to us upon conditions of anonymity. (Sorry, Stoney) He’s in charge of a huge bee farm in an anonymous California town called Lompoc.
STONEY BEE SANCTUARY
Driving to Stoney’s bee sanctuary is amazing. You see acres upon acres of beehives, which are all being tended to by Stoney and his adult children, Sunshine, Mellow, and Irving. Clad in a tye-died beekeeper’s suit, he’s easy to spot. We drive up to his location and we note that small speakers all around are playing mellow music from the 1960s: the Mamas and the Papas, Donovan, The Left Banke and Spanky and Our Gang.
He spots us, waves and takes off his headgear. Bees immediately attach themselves to his long beard and hair. He extends a gloved hand. “You can shake it. The most you’ll get is a honey-glaze.”
The smell of marijuana filled the air.
He acknowledges the bees on him. “It’s cool. We all groove on the same vibe.” The smell of marijuana filled the air. “Yeah,” he admits, “That helps, too.”
Speaking strictly off the record, Stoney says. “This is all government land, which we bought back in the late 90s. That was when Africanized honey bees, killer bees, were first discovered in the U.S.”
Why did they choose Stoney to oversee the new bee farm, with half of it devoted to “killer bees?”
“I was sort of a legendary beekeeper at that point,” he says. “Back in the day, when I first got back from ‘Nam, I was lost. I took a lot of drugs. One day when I was tripping my tits off, I encountered a few wild beehives. I took a look at them, took all my clothes off, and embraced them. They stung the crap out of me. I think I took 300 stings. Later, I made my way to a hospital. There I earned the nickname ‘Lumpy.’ When I was released, I found that I could still ‘hear’ bees. I could communicate with them and became a beekeeper. I also was the guy who removed hives from homes and such. It wasn’t hard. I just pulled out my instrument and began calling to them.”
He produced a small, flute-like instrument. It glistened in the sun. WWN had never seen anything like it before. Smokey noticed our fascination with the instrument. “It’s a kazoo, kid,” he sighed. “It’s been around for about a century and a half. In the 1900s, every jug band had one. You hum into it. Watch.”
Smokey hummed into the magical instrument, producing a hummable version of the Beatles’ “Let It Be.” As he did so, the bees calmed down and returned to their hives.
The bees were jamming.
He grinned as we reacted with disbelief. “If it will make you feel safer, put on that beekeeping suit before we go into our killer bee section.”
We did as we were told. We advanced to a massive expanse far away from the normal honeybees. The speakers around these hives were playing Black Sabbath tunes and the bees were jamming.
“What people don’t remember is that killer bees produce a ton more honey than regular ones. That’s why they were created. When people approach their hives, they get really pissed off. They’ll give you many ouchie stings. So, you have to give ‘em what they want, heavy metal, dope smoke and a lot of kazoo.”
A swarm of these gnarly miscreants descended upon us. Stoney whipped out his kazoo and began playing Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” The killer bees swarmed high into the sky and almost danced their way back into their hives.
Stoney grinned. “When the Feds learned about me and what I could do, they hired me and got me this land. After 9/11, they considered using killer bees to take out terrorists. We had a few really successful missions but, then, someone said that the use of kazoos was a violation of the Geneva Accords. We almost shut down until a bunch of Klezmer bands protested, saying that declaring kazoo-playing a war crime would screw up their Bar-Mitzvah gigs.
“Six months later, we were back in business. But we weren’t needed. Now? The government is entrusting us to save the nation from the Murder Hornets.”
THE FUTURE OF KILLER BEES
What does Smokey envision for the future of America’s bees? “We’ll be monitoring the hornet sightings and, then, get right out there. If I take the kazoo and begin humming ‘Na-na-na-nah, na-na-na-nah, hey, hey, now, say good-bye,’ the killer bees will just ‘Hulk-out!’”
He sighs. “But I don’t think the government exactly gets what I do. I got a call from Mike Pence the other day, asking if I could kazoo the virus away. Seriously. I told him to just hire helicopters to drop Lysol mist on the public. It was a joke. Today, I saw Congress debating that. This is why I live with bees.”