Earthquakes, Smog, and Now Killer Bees

(Originally one of my columns from The Beach reporter, but still could apply today!)

Perhaps you have heard about the killer bees that are moving toward Los Angeles. They are now in the Mexican state of Sonora, and will be in Tucson next year. Then they head to San Diego, and you guessed it – Disneyland.

Honest, I’m not making this up. They only travel about 300 miles a year, so we have a few years before they arrive in L. A., but already emergency plans are being made, hot lines assembled, and schoolchildren being educated about not poking around in hives.

It’s not enough to worry about earthquakes, global warming, polluted oceans, razor blades in Halloween apples, radon seeping through your floors, and lead in your pipes. I’m already afraid to let my kids go anywhere without me for the rest of their lives.

Now this. Killer bees. How did they choose L. A., anyway? I’ve never seen a beehive in a palm tree.
Nevertheless, the experts tell us they’ll be here. They are unstoppable. There isn’t a can of Raid big enough to kill them all, and besides the “Protect the Africanized Honeybee Assn.” would throw fits if we interrupted their natural way of destroying everything in their path.

Maybe when they get to L. A., the air will kill them. Especially if they get here in October, when it’s 100 degrees and you can see and taste what you are breathing.

The smog doesn’t bother us anymore. We Southern Californians have evolved into a mutant form of human life able to thrive on toxic surroundings. Maybe the bees will head right up to San Francisco. There would somehow be a sweet irony in that.

I don’t mean to make light of a situation that is fraught with very real danger, People have died after being stung by a swarm of these bees protecting their hives. But there comes a point where a person simply can’t be prepared for every potential calamity.

I have an earthquake kit, I had my asbestos ceilings scraped off, and I never swim with the sharks. Bees are right up there with spiders and snakes, among nature’s most feared creatures. Steven Spielberg could probably do something fabulous with the whole scenario. Meanwhile, experts caution us not to panic.

They say if you are attacked by the swarm, simply keep a cool head, and run in a zigzag pattern for a long distance. Apparently bees don’t like distance running. Also, you should try and find shelter in a house or vehicle. Like you’re really going to find someone who will let you in their house when you are being pursued by a thousand bees.

How do the bees decide on their destination? No one knows for sure – they refuse all interviews. But entomologists have studied have studied these bees and seem fairly certain of their progress. The buzz has already begun.

In the meantime, don’t wear shirts with big flower prints, or eat bananas outdoors (they’re attracted to the scent), or poke sticks into trees.

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