Ask Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I’ve spent the summer working hard around the hive – I don’t mind. I’m a drone and it’s my job. But there comes a time when the season changes and the work ends and we’re free to go out and look for sugar, which is remarkably easy to find around trash cans and any other place people toss their half-filled pop containers. Just about everywhere, it turns out.

It’s a magical and tragic time for us – we get to tank up on the sweet stuff before we die, which we all will do in short order, me included. Again – that bummer comes as part of the gig. My feelings make no difference at all, so I’m resigned to my fate.

But here’s what frosts me, Dr. Babooner. People waving their hands around in the air and running for cover or trying to crush me just because I happen to be buzzing around. They think I’ve come to attack them, and that is simply NOT TRUE! I really don’t care about them, except when they lunge at me.

Just yesterday I spent the day between a window and a window shade in this guy’s bedroom. I’d fly up to the top of the window and he’s throw a slipper at me and then cower in the doorway. His aim was lousy so I’d survive, but five minutes later he’s slapping at me with a rolled up newspaper, his other arm draped over his head to protect himself. Oh, and the whole while, he’s shrieking.

Here’s what I want to tell him: Look at me. I’m weak. I’m confused. A little dizzy. I’m going to die! Maybe sooner than I think out of embarrassment for you over the way you flail and screech.

Please, let’s all behave with some dignity – is that too much to ask?

Dizzily,
Waspy D. Pest

Here’s what I told Waspy; “Asking other people to behave with “dignity” is sometimes too much to ask, especially when those people are terrified. Frightened people don’t obey logic and can’t make sense. Your best course is to avoid them. Unfortunately, there is something about you that sends certain people into a frenzy and that will always be true no matter what you do. Ultimately I can only offer you your own advice – You’re going to die. So accept your fate and enjoy the nice weather. Get your fill of spilled pop and rotting fruit while you can, and avoid confrontations even when they come looking for you! And for heavens sake, don’t get caught between the window and the shade. What a terrible place to spend your final hours!”

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

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85 thoughts on “Ask Dr. Babooner”

    1. Like you, Clyde, I’m trying to figure out the “real” meaning here. I could go the political route but spent several hours yesterday (at church) getting frothed up about people wanted to change our state constitution, so today I’m gonna let it lie!

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        1. That’s the thing about allegory: allegorists always claim it’s not allegory. The very fact that Dale has made a rare appearance to deny the allegory proves it’s allegory. And notice Dale is not in blue like he usually is when he does honor us with his appearance. Maybe this is like The White Album. I think what Dale is telling us is that Paul is dead.

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  1. Good morning. I’m with you, Waspy. People generally treat you and insects in general as annoying pests that should be eliminated. I am a bug lover. I don’t expect anyone to be a bug lover, but I wish they would get over being bug phobic. Wasps, like you, can sting and should be approach with care. However, most of the time I don’t think you are at all interested in going after anyone with your stinger and should just be left alone. Unfortunately, most people are raised to act like you are a tiny terrorist who should be wiped out. Stay away from people as much as you can and hide from them when you see them coming.

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    1. Dr. B., you should consider developing a more positive attitude toward Waspy. Waspy is a part of the natural world and you should learn to coexist with Waspy. You could even include work on helping people overcome their fears of insects as part of your practice.

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      1. Oh, honey, take the wax out of your ears and the sting out of your words. WDP is just droning on and on about poor bee-havior.

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        1. Bee that as it may and I do appreciate that you are beeing funny. I still think it is best to let a bee be.

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        2. There we go. I knew someone would post “Let it Be” and I like “Never Swat a Fly”. Thanks, Steve.

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  2. lifes a bitch then you die. the trail along the way is the punchline. sometimes its collecting pollen in the sun sometimes its half full pop cans in the cool crisp afternoon before the change of the seaosns. the trick is to roll with the punches. you can wish it were other than it is but that only makes the less than what it could be. were all drones even those of us who feel like queen bees . the truth is we have to put in a days work. its our nature to want to gather for the feeling at the end of the day and the need to fulfill a sense of accomplishment. when the time comes to tally up the score it doenst mater if the pop can got emptied, there are an endless supply of half empty pop cans out there, the only one it matters to is us. and the others we come in contact with. but if you do it right and the truths you find along the way will get you through. if you get it wrong its a shame. those examples too are every place. i tell my kids life is like the bible, 50% stories that teach us how to live life through positive examples and 50% that show us how not to do it by examples that we are obviously not supposed to follow. if youre going to be here anyway you may as well make the most of it and try to live a life that will make a bee proud. pollen until the hive is taken care of and then pop cans while you survey what is left of your options out there. a couple of those flowers that turn red just before the hard frost a couple of garden remnants that remain then that cold cold ground. gonna happen may as well plug into the equation and be happy with the journey. but do appreciate these indain summer days while they are here.

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    1. Okay, there is a lot of darkness, but let’s try to keep darkness from dominating. We don’t need to let the darkness take over. It is time to work on turning that around. I think we agree about that.

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  3. Dear WDP, I am allergic to the stings of you and your brethren and have been stung even when minding my own business. I do my best to avoid you and your kin, the least you and your lot could do is not invade my house. You can have all of the great outdoors, but if you enter my dwelling (would I go into your hive? I think not), I will show no mercy. Do not sting me, do not sting my offspring, do not cross my threshold. I have lots of lovely flowers and things outside for you, there is nothing for you on my dining room window, in my daughter’s bedroom or near the living room ceiling, except an untimely death. Stay outside, and the world is your oyster (or at least the world is your open pop can or rotting fruit).

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  4. i am a little alergic to bee stings , they wont kill me but i swell up big and what others feel for an hour i have residual effects for 3 days. years ago i was told the 4 word phrase that sums up my interaction with bees and my suggestion for all i meet. move like a tree. you dont have to sit still but if you move too fast you freak out the little guys. you can brush them off but do it real slow like a tree branch rubbing not a fly swatter. if they are buzzing your head just move like a tree real slowly away not the flailing arms that cause the stinger to come into play. i love those yellow jackets on the purple flowers this time of year.

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      1. thats not my yellowjacket. i was referring to those big fat round guys who should not be able to fly by the looks of them ( i wonder what the heck those are really called). bumbe bees on the clover when i was a kid were my favorite and the sting is mildest. the wasp and hornet hurt like the dickens and they are lean and mean buzzing machines. worst bite i ever had was a mud wasp nest in a neighbors window well. like an ice pick in your skin with a 400 degree burner hooked to it for 2 hours. ouch.

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      2. We have honeybees, Golden Northern Bumblebees, paperwasps, and yellow jackets. Our first Welsh Terrier took great delight in trying to catch the bumblebees in our lilacs. She got a throat infection once ater eating too many stinging bumblebees, and eventually went into shock and we had to rush her to the vet and keep medication on hand if it happened again. I guess she liked the sensation of the buzzing in her beard. Jumping after those bees really kept her busy.

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  5. Morning–

    There are several people I’d like to shove this in their face and make them read it because they won’t listen to reason on this topic any other way.
    I’m with you WDP; Mostly, you’re just looking for a snack and we all should learn to get along.
    I grew up with my Dad swatting at any flying insect with his seed corn cap. I’ve tried that. When it doesn’t work it only serves to upset your flying brethren more.
    At the family gathering yesterday (outside in full sun) there was plenty of winged visitors and we all got along just fine.
    Except one young lady in the house who freaked out everytime she thought she saw a shadow move. (I’ll cut her a little slack; I know she’s had some medical issues; whether they apply to bee stings I don’t know).
    A work colleague has dubbed himself ‘The Bee Slayer’ and we’ve had this discussion. He says he’s doing it to protect his children. I say he should educate his children.

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    1. Your approach is the one I favor, Ben. I know there are a lot of people who are very fearful of wasps and I am willing to cut them some slack just as you did for the person who freaked out at your family gathering.

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    2. I spent a goodly portion of the weekend sitting outside skinning, coring, and squeezing out the seeds of tomatoes. After a while, small wasps discovered the feast I was providing for them. I made sure to keep a close eye on where they were so I wouldn’t accidentally disturb them. Hours went by in their company without incident.

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    3. My wife IS, more WAS now, a great over of the Great Outdoors–camping, picnics, hiking–except for the fact that she does not get whom to invite into her part of the Great Outdoors.

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      1. Let me try to say that clearly:
        My wife was, when she was able, a great lover of the Great Outdoors–camping, picnics, hiking–except for the fact that she was not able to choose whom to invite into her part of the Great Outdoors.

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  6. I should be working. I’m kinda working.
    From Christine Lavin:

    I’m a fly on a plane
    I am buzzin’ all around
    I got on in Houston
    uh-oh I’m San Antonio bound

    I’m not riding in Coach
    think I’ll fly First Class
    I’m on the head of a banker
    zip zip I’m on the rim of her glass

    My oh my I’m a fly
    taking a free ride on a plane

    I’m a fly on a plane
    my flight’s a little erratic
    the highest I’ve ever been
    was in a cowgirl’s attic

    I didn’t mean to leave home
    but now the die is cast
    I guess my destiny is to roam
    and to fly really fast very fast mighty fast

    My oh my I’m a fly
    taking a free ride on a plane

    When I get to San Antone
    I’m gonna make a lotta new fly friends
    when I tell them I’m from Houston
    their eyes’ll bug out and they’ll say
    “Come again?
    Don’t tell us no Texas Tall Tales
    How did you get here?”
    I’ll say “I flew”

    Those San Antone flies will say
    “Man alive, we’ve got immense respect for you!”

    I’m a fly on a plane
    I’ve got a lot of dreams

    I never counted on a rolled up inflight maga. . .

    (smacking sound)

    zine!c:]

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  7. There were lots of yellow jackets up at the cabin this weekend and the kids were terrified of them – all three kids have been on the receiving end of their painful stings. I tried to explain the “move like a tree” thing to them but they were purely terrified and, as Dale has pointed out, there is no reasoning with a terrified mind.

    Yellow jackets abound at Rock Bend and someone gets stung every year. They love to fly in the kids’ open pop cans and the poor little kids unwittingly take a sip. The worst one I remember was an adorable little blonde princess with blue eyes and pretty pink lips from drinking pink pop. She was stung on her little chubby lip and was crying and clinging to her young mom. The parents were quite upset about it and were about ready to give me a piece of their mind about the yellow jackets at Rock Bend. I could only sympathize and provide ice. I suppose I could have refunded them their ticket price…

    Sometimes I pack along some baking soda to make a paste to apply to the sting site. I leave it backstage to use for this purpose, but the volunteers just look at it and wonder what it’s for and eventually toss it in the yellow jacket-infested trash.

    It sounds like Dale had an adventure throwing slippers at a wasp in his bedroom. I wouldn’t want a wasp in my bedroom either, Dale.

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    1. i can report this year the bees also partook of the red wine. i got to do a lip lock with a bee drinking bee but at least its kind of like prenumbing the spot before you get stung

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        1. It’s probably a good thing Belushi died young. With that kind of physical abuse, his body would be in worse shape than mine if he had lived to be my age.

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  8. My childhood dog Boots had a thing about the hymenoptera. He studied the bees in my mother’s flowers, and even follow them around. He stared at the nests in the rafters of the wood shed and went up to them if the wood allowed him to climb. Often he snapped at a bee or a wasp and only rarely got stung. He never dug, except in ant hills. When he dug them up, he watched the ants.

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  9. ha ha… I JUST received this in email From MentalFloss.com (they send “alerts” every now and then w/ interesting stuff….

    “SCHMIDT STING PAIN INDEX
    Remember that time you got stung by a sweat bee and almost cried? Justin Schmidt scoffs at your pain. He’s the guy who single-handedly created the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, largely because his job as an entomologist with the Southwestern Biological Institute means he’s been stung by a lot-at least 150 different species-of creepy crawlies.

    Schmidt ranks the resulting pain on one of five levels. A ranking of zero means the sting was literally not felt at all. Level one is that sweat bee sting you moaned about for days. And the level you never want to feel is four, which won’t kill you even though you’ll probably wish it would. “You might as well just lie down and scream,” Schmidt says-just one of the many colorful ways he has of explaining the intensity of the pain he has experienced over the years.

    For example, the Bullhorn Acacia Ant, level 1.8, delivers a “rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.” The pain of a Yellowjacket sting (2.0) is akin to “W.C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.” The Paper Wasp, 3.0, is “Caustic and burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a papercut.” The dreaded 4.0-level sting of the Tarantula hawk is “Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath.” The worst, though, is the Bullet Ant, which registers 4.0+: “Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail grinding into your heel.”

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    1. Wow! That’s an entomologist that developed a very unusual area of research that I think I would not like take up myself.

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  10. Mostly I say just get a grip if you don’t have an allergy like Anna’s. I think they can smell fear, and you’re better off staying calm.

    Most years we are juicing apples out on the back yard picnic table. The bees come and hover and mostly find their way into the pulp and foam that we discard. I think they get literally drunk on the stuff – become slow moving and they hardly react if you bring a hand near them. We’ve never gotten stung during that process.

    On the other hand, you’ve got to keep track of where they build their nests! Husband was sitting in one of the metal lawn chairs last summer and got stung. Didn’t make sense, so I eventually overturned it and sure enough, nestled in under the arm was a little nest…

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    1. We found a nest under our lawn bench after being stung. That was annoying, because we did not mean to annoy the flying insects and did non even know what we had done. A little like your husband’s sting.
      This summer, some wasps built a nest in a load of hay, waiting in the shed for a non-rainy day to unload. Then when the unknowing farmer went to unload the hay, the wasps attacked. It took several days to figure out how to get rid of them, and the solution (unfortunately) did not involve moving like a tree. We needed the hay rack unloaded before winter.

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  11. Hi all, I have to share this advice because it works so well for me. Windex sprayed directly into a wasp sting will stop the pain and prevent swelling—at least it does for me. I think it works for bees too. This was passed onto me by one of my brothers at a family reunion after someone was stung. We all laughed at him but then it worked. Probably wouldn’t work for someone who is allergic, I’m guessing.

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    1. Words fail me – there is just nothing else quite as… je ne sais qua… as a Doris Day song!

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  12. Greetings! Well for once I knew right off that today’s blog was a slightly exaggerated ordeal in ” The Life of Dale,” I don’t pay much attention to news or politics so those blogs go over my head. Like the man said, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” As for bees and wasps it’s a matter of live and let live and avoid them whenever possible. But it’s good to know defensive measures when there is a surprise ambush in your lawnchair.

    I remember once long ago while walking in woods, I silently tuned in with the insects and mosquitoes hovering around me, and requested them to leave me alone for the duration of my stroll. I thanked them for their service to the earth and acknowledged their presence in our ecosystem. As I recall, it did seem to work if I stayed focused. I had recently read the “Findhorn Garden” or “Behaving as if The God in All Life Mattered.” Truly fascinating books, especially if you do gardening.

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  13. I was looking for Jo Anne Kelly singing “Yellow Bee”, but it doesn’t seem to exist on YouTube…

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  14. Even if I’m up at 2 a.m., I’m not going to post. No matter how Dale entices me.
    And going Half-Price Booking tomorrow. Getting ready for our next down-sizing.
    Speaking of Half-Price Books, my son took in many books last week to their San Jose store. I do not think I have ever followed up re him. I explained he had lost his job. He has had a new job in Seattle for a couple weeks but could not really say anything public until now. The company pays for the move and they have free housing for two months. His wife is set for a transfer to an Apple store up there.

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    1. I dare you to not post, Clyde. It’s an addiction we all have to deal with here on the trail. So glad to hear your son and wife have landed nicely. And 2 months free housing to boot! Very nice …

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        1. No I didn’t sleep through the night. but it’s now 7 a.m. and I’m heading out early for my bike ride before we head up to the Big Town. And I have not even read Dale’s post for today, tomorrow on this page. I may read it tomorrow, I mean tomorrow on tomorrow’s page, which would be, which would be, what, yesterday? But to go forward to tomorrow’s page, today that is, I would have t go back a page, which makes the future in the past, so to speak. But I will stay only in yesterday, maybe for the rest of my life, for which I would deserve a prize. But then I would show up a day late and not get it.

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