in Old School

I, for one, welcome our bee overlords.

9/30 a local man and his dog were attacked over in Chorerra today. The man, Ricardo Perez, 67, died after being stung repeatedly by a gang of Africanized honeybees.

If you caught this sad story on the TV news you might have noticed the camera pan -not so subtly, over to a tree full of angry bees, the nearby school, a distraught woman, and then a dead dog.

Menace to society!

Naturally the locals are alarmed. People down here work and play outside, and killer bees, or Assassin bees, as the Brazilians call them, are found all over Panama. These Africanized bees are easily annoyed. They don’t just hang around and defend the hive like the more civilized European honey bees do.

They’re known to swarm their victims relentlessly, sometimes stinging them to death. Indeed, killer bees have such a dark rep there are calls for someone, or something to put a stop to them.

Bad profiling?

Contrary to popular myth, killer bees aren’t on a tropical killing spree. In Panama, you’re much more likely to get run over by a bus, than be stung by a killer bee. And, unless you’re allergic, their stings aren’t fatal. Killer bees are actually smaller, and have less venom in their stings, than their European counterparts.

It’s believed they arrived in Panama via the canal. Africanized honeybees love tropical climates like Panama. The canal commission employs a 24 hour bee control team to stop the proliferation of killer bees.

Once you go black …

So are Africanized honeybees really all that bad? Not to a coffee grower. Since the early 80’s killer bees have been gang-banging coffee plants all over Panama. It’s said each coffee plant is visited by about 40 horny killer bees.

Normally, coffee plants are self-pollinating, and don’t need any help to reproduce. Still, killer bees have managed to increase coffee yields by almost 60%. Contrast that with the effete local bees who can’t seem to satisfy the coffee plants at all.

Africanized honeybees have become very important to Panama. According to Science News coffee yields in Panama are at “near-optimal levels.”

Not just optimal, award winning. Grown in the hills of Chiriqui, La Esmeralda eSpecial sells for a record $130 a pound. Pricey and tasty they say, La Esmeralda especial ends up in the filthy little hands of baristas all over the world.

And given the importance African bees have for coffee growers, and Panama’s economy, we say give a brother a break. African bees aren’t all that killer, but they do make killer coffee.

Tip – Don’t pay $130 a pound for good coffee. Thanks to the goodness of our African friends, any generic Panama grind (under $3 a lb) is fantastic.

on the net – science news and la esmeralda especial

Care to Comment?



  1. Do you know if the Africanized Bees… you know, the Brothers From Another Mothers, err, hive… suffer from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)?

    (You probably think I'm joking… but go look it up. Bee colonies all over the world are mysteriously disappearing).

  2. Another positive about these bees is they produce about twice the honey. Brazil (where the problem started), has become a major producer of honey.

  3. Hola cojito, welcome back from the great white north, this message comes to you from Jinotega, Nicaragua I made the swim and people are right it´s a whole other world once you cross the river, but I dig it. Flor de caña,,,prety good shit, nicas, beeeauuuttiiful, think I can get used to this QUICK!!!

  4. crj – that some kind of bee erectile dysfunction? heh, i've actually heard of it. my friend's hive in the states croaked because of it. and i'd read it was spreading. but i don't know if it effects killer bees.

    tom – thanks. i forgot to mention honey. well, actually i edited it out. lol i know, hard to believe i edit this crap.

    fastfreddie – dude, you made it? good for you. life is short. i'm impressed. so to finance the move did you have to sell the iron lung? ;-)

  5. You damned right I sold it, cheap, to some slob who is still there breathing the polution I don´t miss at all. Now I live in the best hotel in town with maid service;-),I eat in the best resturant in town( well second best)and I still put away more in a month than I was able to in the USA. Isn´t life great, if you´ve got the balls to step up and take a chance.

  6. Fastfreddie – don't listen to costa rica jones. you know how he gets. i'm glad it's working out for ya. you got huge balls to take a chance like this.

    is Jinotega tech friendly, with cable, and high speed internet? or is everything still cuy-powered?

  7. Hell costa rica jones doesn´t bother me, I just assumed he was jealous ´cause he doesn´t get serviced in his room. and I am a little weezey now and again,(goes with givin up the iron lung, ha,ha)

    Fiber-optic is being installed, it is only a few klicks from town now and is supposed to be finished by December, they´re on schedule so far. high speed is available now once you can get it installed. The mañana syndrome ya know.

  8. Fastfreddie – you're back. i figured you'd have thrown us over for one of those bare-footed Nicaraguan blogs.

    if you've got any good info on the local girls, send it over. do they make good girlfriends. or if they're hookers, how much, and are they fun?

    i hooked up with a nica in jaco about 5 years ago. seems like forever now. i was reading Rushdie's "the jaguar smile" at the time. because of the book, and lol the sex, i'll never forget her. she was too young for me. sweet tho', in more ways than one.