As if bees weren’t scary enough, what with their Evil Eyes and Stingers of Malice, science has decided to make superbees hopped up on drugs. I imagine the conversation went down like this:
“Man, these bees are pretty horrifying, but I think we should make them worse.”
“A capital suggestion, good sir. What do you propose?”
“Bees on cocaine!”
“Yes, but to what purpose?”
“Dude… BEES… on COCAINE.”
“By George, you’re right. I simply can’t find fault in your logic here. To the lab!”
And then the superbees get super pissed off, turn on the scientists, break out of the lab and proceed to sting the life out of everything with their newly jacked-up Death Venom. Thanks, science. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of a lot of what you’ve done, but this has Bad Idea written all over it. We don’t need Unholy Death Bees. Then again, they’ve already been working on cyborg insects -– maybe coking them up is the next… logical… step?
All kidding aside, there were some interesting insights gained from the whole experiment. For one, drug-addicted bees are liars: “The cocaine-addled insects would routinely exaggerate the quality of sugar or pollen they had found, lying to their fellow hive members through the medium of ‘waggle dancing’.” But the report goes on to say that the information regarding the location of the food was correct. Bees also experienced withdrawal, with some of them feeling the effects so badly they couldn’t tell the difference between vanilla and lemon.
The scientists (Andrew Barron, Macquarie University Australia and Gene Robinson, University of Illinois) figure that further study of drug addiction in bees will lead to insights for human drug addiction; for example, possibly finding a way to prevent the brain from reacting to a drug, to stop a cycle of abuse. The full report is published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.