Saturday, July 23, 2016

bee bars open on top of old Smoky

This time of the year, Indian Gap on the Smokies crest can be a very busy place, a regular honky-tonk district. Very close to where I once found a cloaked knotty-horn and often hear saw-whet owls in late May, the bee bars (or in this case wasp-bars) are opening for business.

Filmy angelica is a robust wildflower that grows at the high elevations of the national park in early August. Although angelicas are in the culinary herb parsley family, by contrast, they are dangerously poisonous. Despite the angelic name, they do not belong anywhere near your kitchen. 

Bees and wasps apparently become intoxicated after feeding on the toxic flowers. It is reported in “Wildflowers of the Smokies” that they have been observed behaving crazily after a visit to angelica.

The only odd insect behavior I usually see is lethargy but I don't get too close. I'm OK with bees, my Dad was a beekeeper, but wasps I avoid because could there be anything more agitating or agitated than a drunken yellow-jacket?

Could this be the origin of the term “getting a buzz on”?


SimeyC said...

Interesting - I'll make sure there are no drunken bees if I ever see this plant!

RebeccaH said...

I've never seen a drunken honeybee, but I did encounter a bumblebee once that I thought must be drunk. It was hovering in front of my garage door, sort of wobbling back and forth, and it stayed there for a good ten minutes, either admiring my garage door or looking at nothing, before it finally flew away.

Dr. E. Scientist, PhD said...

Those look more like yellow jackets, not bees.

It might be prejudicial on my part, but I see bees as likely to be happy drunks and yellow jackets more likely to be mean drunks.

Anonymous said...

I took a class in bee-keeping from Clemson University. One of the class mates said she had seen bees get drunk on the sugar laden dregs of home made wine.

msspurlock said...

I wonder if anyone's considered this in relation to the Hive Collapse Syndrome.

I know when I get my buzz on, the last thing I want to do is work.

jimlongx said...

Like Rebecca I noticed a bumblebee hovering in front of my garage door. It turned out they had built a nest in there and he happly proceded to it as soon as I opened the door.

Stephen Lyn Bales said...

Hello Simey.

Thanks. Yes, watch out for the drunken bees.

I hope all is well in New Jersey. I hope to go to Cape May in the fall.

Anonymous said...

Those would be carpenter bees hanging around your garage door. Damn pernicious they are too - they'll eat right into your eaves and turn your fascia into a spongiform mess.

Stephen Lyn Bales said...

Hello RebeccaH.

Yes, wobbling back and forth sounds a bit suspect. Bumblebees tend to be pretty steady, reliable fellows.

Thanks for stopping by.

Stephen Lyn Bales said...

Hello Dr. E. Scientist, PhD.


Yes, I totally agree. I think they are indeed yellow jackets which makes them wasps and not bees. And, yes, I agree I think they would make pretty mean drunks.

Stephen Lyn Bales said...

Hello Anonymous.

And I thought I was the only one to have gotten drunk on the sugar laden dregs of home made wine.

Growing up, my dad was a beekeeper. I thought they all were drunk.

Stephen Lyn Bales said...

Hello msspurlock.

Yes. Never a good idea to get your buzz on before work.

Stephen Lyn Bales said...

Hello jimlongx.

So Rebecca's bumblebee hovering in front of her garage door may have been living there. Just home from the bar.

Stephen Lyn Bales said...

Hello Anonymous.

Yes, part of my house is full of holes. It looks like someone has been shooting at me. Wait a minute. I live in the mountains, maybe someone HAS been shooting at me.