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The Sting

Bee trucks are one of my least favorite sights on the roads here in Gansu. I thought the itinerant bee farmers in Shanxi were bad enough, but at least they and their hives were stationary. The trucks are a mobile menace to navigation, leaving a steady stream of disorientated and disgruntled bees in their wake. While not a swarm, there are more than enough to cause us some trouble.


Each truck generally carries several dozen hives, uncovered and evidently unsealed. Bees get out. Bees get lost. And a homeless, soon-to-be-dead bee is an angry bee.

They fly right into our faces, bounce off helmets and goggles, and occasionally stick to clothes or bags lurking for later attack.

Jared, Katie, and I have all fallen victim to kamikaze stingers in the last two days: Jared on the nose and ear, Katie on the head, and me right on the throat. I hadn’t been stung by anything since I was about 6, and that may have been a wasp, so I spent a few seconds wondering whether it might have been prudent to pack an EpiPen in the first aid kit. My continued breathing, at least, answered the question of whether or not I’m allergic. Deadly or not, I still hate the little stripy buggers.

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