To bee or not to bee

First Posted: 5/1/2014

Everyone has a nemesis. Batman has the Joker, Superman has Lex Luthor, Miley Cyrus has pants — and I have bees.

Not only because I am deathly allergic to the little boogers, but even if I wasn’t, I have a fear of needles, and bees are just needles with wings and tempers.

When I lived in Rutherford County, I was horrified to find out that for some inexplicable reason, bees were as ubiquitous as they were unnervingly sociable. No matter where you’d park, if you left your window even a crack open it would only be a matter of seconds before a bee would float its way into your car to greet you.

One time I bruised my wrist pretty badly while leaping out of my idling car into the parking lot so as to avoid a bee … I looked back over my shoulder and could hear the equivalent of bee laughter, or what others may call “buzzing.”

In recent years there has been a drastic number of bee colony collapses in North America as well as throughout Europe, leading some researchers to voice concern that pesticides or some other unknown cause may be leading to the end of the bee as we know it. Good riddance.

Sure, the end of the bee will also mean that all plant life will follow, and then animals that rely on plants, and eventually, well … us.

But who needs us? Not bees, that’s for sure. When a bee stings you, it does so with the knowledge that it will die immediately afterwards. Why not take a page from the bee’s playbook and cut off our stinger to spite our butts?

Okay, okay — maybe we shouldn’t destroy our planet in the name of getting rid of bees, but perhaps we could breed a bee that is sans stinger? If we are going to be playing God, by genetically modifying vegetables to be more resistant to insects, why not go a step further and genetically modified insects to be less resistant to swatting?

Yes, I am sure there are some ethical grey areas I am touching on here. Some risks I am not factoring in … For example, what if all of our mucking around with bee genes only serves to create giant car-sized bees? Horrifying, sure, but it could be delicious. Undoubtedly honey-glazed.

Perhaps we could put them to work in Robeson County? Bees are notoriously hard working, and Robeson County needs a boon to our economy — why not genetically modify bees to be giant and and stingerless and we can export them as cheap labor?

In the mid-1990s, in a region of central China, there had been a sudden and to this day unexplained loss of bees, which meant that farmers had to start doing some pollinating by themselves — by hand.

Just think about that: China, a country that so many blame for stealing jobs away from Robeson County, suddenly needs hard working bees of their own, and here we would be sitting pretty with a whole army of genetically modified bees. This works out pretty well for us, as it would allow us to both infuse our local economy with sweet money by exporting our bee labor (God help us if they unionize), and also this benefits me greatly as it means that we get to get rid of bees.

It also will make new jobs in Robeson County, because with no bees, we’ll need to hire humans to do as the Chinese have done, and start pollinating all of our plants by hand.

Problem solved. Now if we could just figure out a way to get Miley Cyrus to wear pants.

James Johnson may be reached at 910-272-6144 or on Twitter @JJohnsonRobeson.