Surprisingly, the answer is yes, and bees can be used as weapons. Wait, but can someone be charged for using bees as a weapon? Again, surprisingly, the answer is yes. This past week, a woman was charged with assault and battery, using bees as a weapon against law enforcement.
Bees Used as Weapons Today
The news reported that in desperation of being served an eviction notice, this woman made the decision to agitate the bees on the back of a truck in hopes that the swarming would deter police from successfully serving the document. Authorities reported that the person being charged tried to unleash the hives by shaking them and smashing the lid to one of the hives so the bees would become agitated and escape. The report also claims she pushed an entire hive off the truck causing the bees to swarm. In the process, many sheriff’s officers were stung, and some were allergic.
After several stings and one hospitalization, officers had no other serious consequences, fortunately. The woman was protected by a beekeeper suit as the bees swarmed. Her attempts to unleash thousands of bees to attack police while serving an eviction notice did not stop law enforcement from doing their job. The woman is being charged with weaponizing honeybees to attack. Her erratic actions of tipping over beehives and taking off the lids have resulted in multiple counts of assault and battery using a dangerous weapon, which is the bees.
Whatever this woman’s fate after answering to the judicial system, her desperate actions led to curiosity about the history of bees used as weapons. What was discovered was surprising, to say the least.
The History of Bees Used as Weapons
What is most interesting is that bees have a rich history in warfare, going back as far back as the Mayans (and probably before, but no written documents from the cave dwellers exist). Research and written records of the Romans using bees as weapons in war show that bees have been considered a viable weapon for thousands of years. The Romans would catapult hives into enemy areas and cause swarming and a high likelihood of stings and chaos. Going back further, the Mayans in 2600 BC also utilized bees in warfare. Using a more recent example, during World War I, beehives were regularly used by throwing them at the enemy positions. There are documents of the hives also being connected to tripwires, with activity triggering an angry swarm of bees protecting their queen and hive.
It may be challenging to picture ancient civilizations launching beehives across fields as a legitimate warfare tactic. It is well known that bees attack when agitated and threatened. If you put that fact into context, there must have been some first-hand experiences before deciding to use bees against an enemy!
The Future of Bees Used as Weapons
Some claim bees are used in secret experiments to sniff out explosives. Bees have incredible olfactory senses that serve them well throughout life. Bee’s ability to sniff out food and threats has led to scientists testing their ability to sniff out explosives in hopes of using them to protect people. In these experiments, bees are put in a tube and waved over an object containing explosives. Their behaviors are recorded and observed. Although in the testing stages only at this time, technology and science may find the utilization of bees to find explosives useful.
In the last year, legislation labeled some bee species as protected under the Endangered Species Act for the first time. More recent legislation protects bees from inhumane treatment during experimentation. It would be wise for scientists and researchers to consider the growing regulations around the treatment of these essential pollinators. The relevance and value they bring continue to increase with every new possibility. These black and gold pollinators offer expansive benefits to the environment and people.
In today’s charges against the bee attack in Massachusetts, it should prove interesting to see how new legislation plays out as it is applied to her charges. The court will determine the severity of her assault and battery charges, as well as possible enhancement charges for species endangerment. If you ever have a hive in your area that seems agitated, contact a professional to assess the situation and safely relocate the hive. It is never recommended for someone to attempt to use bees as a weapon against anyone. Although the officers in this scenario did not suffer critical outcomes, bee stings are no joke for those who are allergic. Multiple bee stings can send someone allergic to the hospital and even take a life. Hopefully, knowing bees have been used as weapons before beekeeping became a popular pastime sheds light on their value and the damage they can cause if provoked. Never attempt to remove a hive on your own, and always ask a professional for help!