Code, nerd culture and humor from Greg Knauss.

This afternoon, I arrived home from the hardware store (for the fourth goddamned time) with what wouldn't actually turn out to be the last pieces I'd need to finish a sprinkler extension I'd started on Saturday.

And the yard was swarming with bees.


They were everywhere -- clumped into a buzzing, churning mass on the branch of one of the front yard trees; thick and spinning in the air; assaulting a blazingly yellow bush in a planter under the window. The noise they made was a low, electric throb, the buzz and hum of hundreds and hundreds of bees.

I, of course, did the responsible adult thing and got out my camera and got real close.


Where the hell did they come from? I'd worked outside all Saturday, tearing down a bougainvillea -- bougainvillea is Satan's shrubbery, hiding vicious teeth behind pretty fuchsia lies -- and digging trenches and, pfft, not a one. The boys had been playing in the backyard all morning and given that they'll screech into the dog-sensitive range at a pill bug, I'm pretty sure the yard was clear, then, too.

But now: everywhere. Bees!

The beekeeper we called came out a couple of hours later and nonchalantly climbed a ladder, knocked the great mass of the hive into a cardboard box and then blithely told me that I was lucky because they were Africanized honey bees -- "killer bees" -- and they're aggressive and dangerous. They'd stung him twice through his thick overalls and the wounds were already swelling. He gets stung a dozen times a day, he said, and takes an anti-inflammatory medicine as a routine.


He packed up the box -- full of angry, angry bees and sort of vibrating -- and drove away.

Africanized honey bees were actually engineered, bred in South American in the 1950s in the hopes that they'd take to the hot climate better than the European bees that were used previously. They, unfortunately, did take to the hot climate and promptly kicked the ass of everything else out there. They've been marching north ever since, entering the U.S. in 1990 and California in 1995. Now they're in my front yard.

Just as a tip: If you ever find yourself in the middle of a swarm of Africanized honey bees -- say, with a camera, taking pictures of them -- you drop your arms and quickly walk away. If you start swatting at them and, perhaps, shrieking like a little girl, they get angry, get organized, and get even.

As for us, we're now bee-free. But, Christ, the way things are going, I sort of expect locusts next. And, hey, frogs after that. Frogs'll be sort of cool.

(To see a you-are-there video -- assuming you have low-resolution eyes and a tinny little microphone for ears -- click here.)

Hi there! My name's GREG KNAUSS and I like to make things.

Some of those things are software (like Romantimatic), Web sites (like the Webby-nominated Metababy and The American People) and stories (for Web sites like Suck and Fray, print magazines like Worth and Macworld, and books like "Things I Learned About My Dad" and "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard").

My e-mail address is I'd love to hear from you!

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