Search the computer net for “killer bees” and discover the most attacked USA county is mine, Imperial. Look closely, the epicenter is Sand Valley. My theory is that hysterical reaction in surrounding townships biases the statistics. Take the removed burg where I sub-teach. One morning a sweet-tooth counselor sprinted into my agriculture class and whispered in my ear, “Were in radio silence – killer bees!” Walkie-talkie signals supposedly seed a swarm, but the secrecy put the kids on edge. The animal control, police and fire department locked and yellow taped our room. “I gotta pee!” and other students were assigned to water their school farm animals no one left. Under lockdown we watched out a window as a fireman in beekeeper nets climbed a tree and clipped the stalk of a 3 nest that plopped into a garbage bag. By that time the students had broken out of the room and swarmed the campus.

“Don’t enter the Zelson place,” warns TJ. It’s a distant abandoned ranch.

“Why?” I ask.

“Killer bees in the northeast corner.”

“How do you know?”

“They came after Boy quick an me. Ask him.”


“Don’t know. Maybe cuz we put the insides of a shotgun shell in the nest.”

“No wonder they swarmed”

“They didn’t”


“We shot again.”


“They flew at us.”

“You ran for the buggy?”

“Only time I ever beat Boy in a footrace.”

“I’ll peep.”

A week later, this month, a friend arrives in a sedan and we head to the Zelsons. I recount the conversation on tiptoes all the way to the corner. Sure enough, here’s bees but you can’t differentiate a killer except by the attract. Dozens buzz evenly about us until he whispers, “Maybe they have a memory for two,” and they begin butting us with their heads. (I learn later that head butts precede a swarm.) We fly out the house to the car and slam the doors without issue. The county consequently cleared the Zelson corner but two weeks later TJ repeats they’re back and I’m thinking he’s already shot and reported a swarm.