As summer winds down, let’s look at a cautionary tale that buzzes around this time of year. It is a nightmarish story about bees and while it may seem like an urban legend, it actually does happen from time to time.
Imagine you’re out boating on a lake or the ocean — whichever one floats your particular boat — soaking up the sun and scenery and sipping on a can of your favorite summertime beverage. It’s hot and the combination of the occasional breeze and the coolness of your canned beverage is just what the doctor ordered on this perfect day.
Now that you have the scene, imagine something distracts you. Maybe you’re fishing and think you have a bite, or you have to answer a call of nature or you just decide the heat is too much and you go for a brief swim. When you come back, without thinking about it you take sip of your drink and then it happens.
As the liquid enters your throat you feel a sudden jolt of pain, your throat begins to tighten and swell, and before you can process what has happened, you’re gasping for air.
Sometime while you were away from your drink, a wasp or a yellow-jacket entered your can searching for food and you fell victim to one of the nastiest occurrences of summer, a bee sting to the inside of your throat or mouth. If you’re allergic to bee stings, you know how dangerous and deadly this can be, but even if you’re not allergic, the normal swelling from a bee-sting inside the throat can be deadly.
So, what makes your soda can a target of bees? We all know insects are attracted to sugary or fermented drinks, but in this case there’s more going on. Bee stings from drink cans ramp up from August through October. According to Phil Luciano of the Journal Star, wasps and Yellowjackets don’t eat honey like their brethren and instead scavenge on fruits, flies and mosquitos.
As the weather cools and their food sources begin to disappear, the bees become desperate and your soda can becomes their watering hole.
But there are a few things you can do to prevent this scenario. First, and most obviously, you could pour your drink into a transparent cup or a glass. It may not be as convenient, but at least you can see if there are any invaders.
Secondly, you can turn the tab on your can around so that it covers the mouth. Depending on the brand and style of the can, this may not work, but it could form enough of a barrier to keep bees out.
Another old trick is to stick a business card under the tab and over the mouth. It doesn’t have to be a business card, but the basic idea is to cover the drink in a way that your cover of choice doesn’t blow away.
If you don’t feel like using a DIY method and just want to pay the problem to go away, there are plenty of products available online that will allow you to enjoy a canned drink without the threat of unwanted insects ruining your summer.