"Bees follow me and I don't know why"
February 24, 2019 2:34 PM   Subscribe

Gosa Taffese has a beehive in his front room and the insects follow him on his travels as well. Dubbed the “father of bees” by locals in Ethiopia's Oromia region, he says it's a mystery why the insects are attracted to him.
posted by Johnny Wallflower (40 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
1) clone this man
2) distribute him on a global basis
3) sequence his genome
4) begin CRISPR experiments

In that order.

We're undergoing a crisis! Only really big thinking is going to solve this!

(Also, video link, under 2m long)
posted by hippybear at 2:39 PM on February 24 [11 favorites]

Obviously he is a bee god.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:44 PM on February 24 [5 favorites]

So long, big cow. Your time has passed.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:44 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]

it's so sweet

honey sweet...
posted by growabrain at 2:57 PM on February 24

Bees can sense royalty!!!
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:16 PM on February 24 [18 favorites]

This man is living my dream. Just peacefully hanging out with the bees and with honey-on-demand in my living room.
posted by VioletU at 3:20 PM on February 24 [15 favorites]

Have we found Bingo Pajama?
posted by rhiannonstone at 3:32 PM on February 24 [6 favorites]

Que Será, Será.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 3:41 PM on February 24 [11 favorites]

Whatever will bee will bee
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 4:09 PM on February 24 [19 favorites]

Bees used to follow me a lot when I was a kid, but it was NOT a happy, harmonious situation. Something about me seemed to make them go batshit crazy and I have many traumatic memories of being chased home by loudly buzzing bees. I seemed to be a particular target for carpenter bees, those big, clumsy, shiny black ones like flying olives. When one of those monsters dive-bombs your head it's like the biplane scene in North by Northwest. One time when I was maybe six or seven a particularly heartless babysitter wouldn't let me in the house during an attack and sat inside laughing while some little bastard bee furiously zoomed around my skull for like an hour.

Bees leave me alone now, but I still kind of loathe them. I know what they're capable of. When I hear about colony collapse I'm concerned, of course. But I also think, "And not a moment too soon..."
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:36 PM on February 24 [9 favorites]

On a much smaller scale, I have a pet bee. He visits me regularly on my porch. I know it's him when he starts buzzing around my ear. Was happy to see he had survived our mild winter when he reappeared this past week. I call him Eric the Whole Bee...
posted by jim in austin at 5:03 PM on February 24 [25 favorites]

The first Bumble bee of 2019 appeared in my garden the other day- sadly she was so bumble-Y I couldn’t get a picture. But she was there, hovering over the newly mowed weeds looking for pollen. I doubt I’ll see another for a while, it’s going to rain again- but I know spring is coming, for the bees have returned
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 5:07 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]

posted by clavdivs at 5:27 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]

Duh, it's his posse!
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 5:30 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]

jim, it's probably Erica, but yay for bee friends.

It would be interesting to get some cloths soaked with this man's scent and see if bees of a random hive liked it/were attracted to it.

And for a contrast, with Ursula Hitler's to see if they all hated it.

We don't really understand our scents, much less what other animals smell about us. Dogs can smell friggin cancer. Who knows what bees perceive? Maybe UH smells like a hostile wasp to them or some other danger. Maybe this guys smells like the most amazing pollen.
posted by emjaybee at 5:54 PM on February 24 [4 favorites]

You never can tell with bees.
posted by darkstar at 6:22 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]

Sure, this guy gets bees, I get mosquitoes...

(Where do I file a formal complaint?)
posted by madajb at 6:29 PM on February 24 [5 favorites]

posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:12 PM on February 24 [8 favorites]

Is this what that Ram Dass guy was on about with “Bee Here Now”?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:21 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]

You never can tell with bees.

Isn’t it curious-a
How the bees like Gosa?
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
I wonder why they does?
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:44 PM on February 24 [4 favorites]

There once was a guy named Taffese
Who was known as the father of bees
They lived in his home
And when he would roam
They would follow wherever he pleased
posted by dephlogisticated at 7:49 PM on February 24 [6 favorites]

OK. Not yet...?

posted by Windopaene at 8:30 PM on February 24 [5 favorites]

Ultra Violet navigators of the Sixth dimension
posted by hortense at 8:34 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]

I had a paper wasp nest that lived over my front door back in Texas. The wasps were sweet and docile and never bothered anyone except the pest control guy. Him they dive bombed.

Insects aren't stupid.

(We used a green pest controller company that put down boric acid inside the house to keep the roaches and the pill bugs out, we never used any other pesticides)
posted by WalkerWestridge at 8:50 PM on February 24

(The lord of the Bees)
posted by Richard Upton Pickman at 10:30 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]

When I lived in the country with the beer bottles, I worked closely with a local guy who managed large construction projects. He was one of the most pleasant, easy-going people I’ve ever met. One day, we were in a car, going on a long bumpy journey, and the topic of bees came up.

My Colleague: I hate bees.

Me: What? No! Bees are cute. And they pollinate flowers and make honey.

Colleague: When I was a child, some bees came into my bedroom. They made a nest in the cupboard next to my bed.

Me: OK, yeah, annoying. So your parents got rid of them?

Colleague: No, bees are lucky. The bees lived in my bedroom.

Me: But... Wait, how long did they live there?

Colleague: For years! They were there the whole time I was in school.

Me: And... You didn’t ever get stung?

Colleague: Oh yeah! All the time! Like five, maybe six times every day.

And that’s the story of how my ex-colleague lived inside his own personal beehive for several years and developed an entirely justified hatred of bees.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 11:27 PM on February 24 [20 favorites]

There's a lot about modern science that is laudable, but key opportunities are often not acted upon due to ethical constraints which do not serve civilization as a whole. We have a real difficulty in the US, particularly on the west coast, with bee populations. Important industries are threatened, and many biologists would agree that critical aspects of the biome as we know it are at threat due to under-pollination if we do not address this issue soon.

Here is what needs to happen, and it is bigger than this man: We need to mechanically reduce him to an aerosolized fluid, and we need to use this substance to paint crops and protected wildlife areas.
posted by floam at 11:43 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]

Anecdotal, but I like bees. And, well, I have a bunch of beehives. Like, a bunch. When I am outside with other people, it is far more likely for a bee, out on a lark I suppose, to land on me to take a break then to land on the other people.

I think being around bees you start to smell like bees.
posted by os tuberoes at 11:43 PM on February 24 [6 favorites]

That earlier anecdote was my story about Africa and bees but I actually have lots of stories about bees in general because my dad had a mid-life crisis and decided to take up beekeeping as a hobby. (Even though he’s really allergic to bees and goes into anaphylactic shock when he gets stung and inflates like a grotesque fleshy balloon and has to inject himself with adrenaline to not die.) Anyway, once my mum got stung by a bee from one of the hives that he’d decided to keep by the side of our house and so she banished the bees to the countryside. I was in the neighbourhood, and so I got recruited to help with the move. My dad had already somehow managed to get the hives into the back of his antique Landrover and had tied them down, so we got in the front (wearing full beekeeping gear, veils, etc) and started our very slow drive out to the piece of woodland where the bees were to be re-homed.

The point of the story is that my dad hadn’t tied the hives down properly, and so just as we were driving through the busy centre of the city where my parents live, one of the hives fell apart in the back of the vehicle and approximately 1,000,000,000 very angry bees came out and filled the car. Without really considering the situation much beyond the fact that we could no longer see to drive (because bees) we got out to go and access the back of the car to deal with the situation, and a decent proportion of the bees accompanied us outside.

I can guarantee that you will never have seen a street full of people scatter so rapidly and so completely, until you see a car lurch to a stop and two people in beekeeping clothes jump out, followed by a giant stormcloud of furious bees. Honestly it was impressive. Pure, immediate instinct. One moment, a busy shopping street - the next, a desolate stretch of highway, enlivened only by two people swearing and an ominous buzzing noise all around.

(Probably, the moral of the story is that my mum is correct to exercise her veto over my dad’s plan to keep goats.)
posted by chappell, ambrose at 11:52 PM on February 24 [31 favorites]

Now I see that I completely misunderstood the situation back when a bee family decided to move into my chimney. They were completely friendly, and it was summer, and I was actually a little sad that they couldn't stay. But I did everything I could to smoke them out. They didn't budge at all, and in spite of my efforts, they were still friendly. In the end, I found a beekeeper who took them away, but I see now that they liked me, and I should have bought them a hive to live in instead of my chimney. I mean, I liked them too.
(I've never been scared of bees and I get irritated when people panic over them. Bees are our friends).
posted by mumimor at 1:12 AM on February 25 [4 favorites]

Has no one in this thread seen the movie Candyman? What if he's filled with bees?
posted by loquacious at 3:09 AM on February 25 [3 favorites]

Ursula Hitler, carpenter bees like to buzz me as well. It is very intimidating. Until I recently learned that male carpenter bees (the ones that do the buzzing) cannot sting anything. They are literally all bluster.

Still annoying to have one buzzing around your head, but that fact took away the fear and stress for me.
posted by snowmentality at 5:38 AM on February 25 [1 favorite]

Bees used to follow me a lot when I was a kid, but it was NOT a happy, harmonious situation. Something about me seemed to make them go batshit crazy and I have many traumatic memories of being chased home by loudly buzzing bees.

Did you eat a lot of bananas as a kid? Because bananas have a compound that is chemically identical to bee rage hormone, and when I was taking beekeeping classes we were told to never eat bananas before visiting the hives, lest we send them into a murderous frenzy.

(Because of this - and the fact that bees communicate using dozens of other complicated pheromones - my theory is that this guy or something in his diet contains a compound that is coincidentally attractive or calming to bees. But that could be 100% bullshit.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:52 AM on February 25 [5 favorites]

Why do bees
suddenly appear,
every time,
you are ne-e-ar ?

Just like me,
they long to be,
close to you ...
posted by King Sky Prawn at 8:57 AM on February 25 [5 favorites]

We have a neighbor that has bee hives, and when we are swimming in the pool, we always have more than a few dozen just flying around us, landing on our shoulders, arms, heads, whatever is above the water. They have yet to sting one of us, including my children jumping around like idiots and splashing water at each other. It's sort of lovely.
posted by bradth27 at 9:49 AM on February 25 [2 favorites]

On a much smaller scale, I have a pet bee. He visits me regularly on my porch. I know it's him when he starts buzzing around my ear.

It's Malachi the Magical Bumblebee!

Oh, Malachi
Oh, Malachi
You are a magic bumblebee
If in trouble e'er I bee
Then mumble, bumble
here to me.

From Eleanor Estes' The Witch Family.
posted by Lunaloon at 9:58 AM on February 25

Obvs his real name is BUDWEISE, KING OF BEES
posted by doop at 12:55 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]

Speaking of pet bees - I used to have an old folding chair on my balcony for cigarette smoking, the kind of chair made with hollow metal tubes. It was old, it had cracked along a hinge (but was still a perfectly functional chair).

One summer, I got buzzed by a mason bee every other time I went outside for a smoke, who seemed really interested in my left knee.

So I calmly got up to observe, and saw it fly into the crack in the metal tube.

After that, whenever it hung around my left knee, I'd shift my leg a bit and let it into it's apartment.
posted by porpoise at 3:41 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]

I'm in Surrey now, and wondering whether I should try to do anything for/ with my (small) thumb-sized hummingbird neighbours.
posted by porpoise at 7:36 PM on February 25

I have a similar problem, though much less impactful on my life as I've moved to larger and larger cities where fewer and fewer bees are to be found.

Seriously, the little bastards (I use that term mostly affectionately) follow me and crawl all over me and get stuck in my hair.
posted by wierdo at 2:22 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]

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