Basically, the worst fate in the universe is to face a Zerg Rush of bees. Nothing so small should cause so much fear amongst creatures so much larger... and yet they do. The distinctive coloration. The horrible buzzing noise. The agony of stinging. The way they move in swarms. The kamikaze mentality. And of course, if you're allergic or if there are a lot of the little bastards, they can put you in the hospital or even kill you.
Subtropes include Bee Bee Gun. Related to Gosh Hornet. If a monster or person is made of bees, then they're The Worm That Walks. Often seen in the Hornet Hole. Sometimes overlaps with Bears Are Bad News because bears like their honey.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
City Hunter: They featured in the supporting character's Kazue Natori introductory arc. Her late fiancee was duped into creating bees with such a toxic venom it could kill ten men with one single bite, and then he was murdered. In order to avenge him, she is trying to create a cure (too bad her first test cure caused impotence and Ryo got bitten by a bee).
Pokémon: Vespiquen's Attack Order move summons a bunch of Combee to attack the foe.
Beedrill is actually the wild Pokemon that has attacked Ash the most. Not to mention the fact that they attack in massive swarms and are 3'03".
From InuYasha, there's the Saimyoushou, the poisonous insects Naraku uses for spying on the heroes and weakening Miroku whenever he uses the Wind Tunnel.
In No. 6, the dark secret of the eponymous city is that parasitic bees/wasps are propagating and killing people
In Ninja Scroll, one member of the Quirky Mini Boss Squad is a living nest for Japanese Giant Hornets. He is able to control them, use them to scout out the position of the heroes, and then makes the colony swarm them. If bees are bad news, what does that make hornets, who prey on and massacre bees?
In Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, one of Sakura Hall's assignments involves dealing with its chronic beehive problem. In the first opening alone, we see a cautious Sorata attempting to deal with a hornet's nest on the balcony, with Mashiro and Misaki (safely behind a glass door) cheering him on; later, he's running away from an angry swarm, followed shortly by Jin and Chihiro-sensei.
In My Little Pony Micro Series Issue #3 one of the activities Rarity does in the hippie farm is helping Flax Seed to collect honey. She thinks ahead and puts a protective suit on, but the angry bees reduce it to shreds and at the end of the day, Rarity is covered in bee stings.
In Tommy Boy, Tommy attempts to beat a drunk driving arrest by pretending he is being attacked by a swarm of vicious bees.
Bees! Bees in the car! Save yourselves! Your firearms are useless against them!
In Little Nicky, Adrian proves to the crowd how evil he is by bringing out Henry Winkler and covering him in bees. Later, Nicky has to do something bad so he can get back to hell, so he also covers Winkler in bees.
A bumblebee was the cause of Mistaken for Racist in National Security. It started when the black security guard who at first suspected of stealing a car gets attacked by a bumblebee, which he's allergic to. The white cop swings his nightstick around to shoo it away only to make it look like a racial beating which was caught on tape before he was convicted and sent to prison.
In Save the Green Planet!, the protagonist douses a man in honey and then unleashes crates full of bees. Guess what happens.
In Nanny McPhee, the children disrupt the wedding of their father to a woman who proves she'll be an "evil stepmother" by pretending an attack of bees, to which the minster is deathly allergic.
In the very-rarely-seen Song of the South, Br'er Rabbit hoodwinks Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear by having them take him to his "laughing place", which is a bush with a beehive in it. Br'er Bear, who is the first to fall for the scam, lampshades this:
Stephen King's novel The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon features a horrible bearlike monster that follows the protagonist through the wilderness as she wanders in search of some safe haven. The creature frightens her when she first sees it, but then she realizes — horror of horrors — that it is made out of bees.
Same creature has an envoy that appears to the protagonist in a dream. A humanoid, robed being with clawed hands and a face made, you guessed it, of wasps.
It's not made of bees, it's a bear covered in bees.
Invoked in The Other, the fortieth book of the Animorphs series. Surprisingly enough, it's ultimately averted, with the bee morph being no worse than any other insect the kids have morphed.
An early example: In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz the Wicked Witch of the West sends a swarm of deadly bees after Dorothy & Co., which they defeat by (no, really) disembowelling the Scarecrow and having all the "meat" characters hide under the straw, while the bees break their stings off on the Tin Woodman and die.
Inverted in Douglas Coupland's Generation A, where bees have supposedly gone extinct and everything's worse without them.
In an H. H. Munro (AKASaki) story called "The Story of St. Vespaluus", a boy is condemned to be stung to death by bees. It doesn't work out that way.
In The Hunger Games, the protagonist Katniss kills an opponent by dropping a hive full of tracker jackers (mutated bees) onto her.
The tracker jackers are everything bad about bees taken Up to Eleven. They have the tracking capability of African bees and will hunt you down for at least a mile. Their stings instantly create painful, plum-sized lumps that ooze green fluid. The venom in the stingers causes hallucinations that will drive a person insane or even kill them if not treated immediately.
John Saul's The Homing is all about mutant strains of mind-controlling bees.
In the story "Red Dog," from the second volume of The Jungle Book, Mowgli tricks the attacking dhole pack into following him to, and awakening, the Little People of the Rocks — a.k.a. Indian rock bees.
In Baby-Sitting Is a Dangerous Job, the babysitter protagonist and the oldest of her three charges subdue their kidnappers by dropping a wasp's nest on them.
In the Warrior Cats book SkyClan's Destiny, one scene involves the cats accidentally knocking down a bees' nest, and getting attacked by the resulting swarm.
Live Action TV
Little House on the Prairie: Mrs. Oleson and Nellie want to go into the honey business but – thanks to Laura and Albert – find they have a real hornet's nest on their hands.
The Outer Limits TOS episode "ZZZZZ". The queen of a hive of intelligent bees takes human form in order to mate with an entomologist.
One of the first episodes of LOST had Charlie standing on a beehive and eventually breaking it ("It wouldn't be an irrational fear of bees if I could just pull myself together, would it?") causing people to run and take off their shirts ("It was, um, it was full of bees." "I'd have thought C's, actually.").
Adam Savage of MythBusters has a fear of bees. One myth tested involved hypnosis and its effects on fear responses, which, among other things, had Adam dipping his hand into a box of bees. The hypnosis didn't help at all.
A later myth involving bees and a viral video where a swarm lifted a laptop into the air brought this fear up again. At the bee-ginning of the episode, he was just as scared as ever, though by the time he came back to the bee farm later, he felt much more comfortable around the bees, after having worked with them in the shop. On a side note, there may be a similar explanation for why his fear of spiders (in early seasons) is gone now.
In The X-Files, genetically modified bees cause all kinds of problems.
An episode of The Starlost has a scientist who's developed giant mutant bees who control his mind and want to take over the spaceship.
JAG: In the first season episode ”High Ground”, after breaking brig and taking to the hills Gunnery Sergeant Ray Crockett is spotting Marines approaching and instead of shooting at them, he shots at a bee’s nest above them…
1000 Ways to Die gives us the American dude who went to Thailand for sexual tourism... and ended up stung to death by Giant Hornets.
Psychostick's song 'We Ran Out of CD Space' understates this trope with the following lines:
What if your face was made of bumblebees? You would be like, 'Dude, this really sucks; I do not want a face made out of bumblebees.'
Second City's 1995 mainstage show was called "A Pinata Full of Bees." Note that Second City's titles tend towards either really bad Puns or just plain Word Salad Titles.
Dane Cook lampooning the idea of killer bees: "It's a fucking bee! I could understand if it was like killer horses! That's scary shit!"
Dungeons & Dragons has had, in several versions of its bestiary, various forms of stinging insects. Among these is the mantis-armed, mecaque-headed MONKEY BEES.
There's also a monster that's basically an anthropomorphic bee, though that might be something of a subversion since the bee people are not in fact evil.
Pathfinder has a goddess of lust, revenge and trickery who is likened to a wasp and has giant wasps as her sacred animals. Confusing them with bees is not recommended.
BattleTech features Humongous Mecha named after stinging insects, including the Wasp, Hornet, Stinger, and Firebee. The 'worse' is relative, as while they're still at least twenty tons each and rather dangerous to infantry and light vehicles, they are Light Mechs with rather little in the way of armor or offensive weaponry compared to their far larger brethren. Of the four designs named, only the Firebee proves to be much of a threat due to being nearly twice as big and twice as well armed as any of the other three.
The Pain from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, who harnesses the power of bees to create guns and transport grenades... as well as just soaking you in bee pheromones and letting the little monsters go to work.
It was actually mostly hornets, but the bees did the special work.
One of BioShock's plasmids includes the ability to attack enemies with bees, causing them to panic and get distracted. Also, there's a part in the game where the player has to be in contact with overgrown beehives.
In Mega Man X 3, Blast Hornet, based on a hornet (duh), sends small homing robot bees to target you. The Charged Attack of his weapon lets X do it too.
In Mega Man Zero 3, a beehive sub-boss does this, throwing an oily substance to the walls and then at you for its bees to chase on it.
Then in Z4, a boss replicates the strategy above, throwing a substance that makes your ground movement slippery and then bees home on you; this boss is not bee-based however.
Mega Man ZX Advent has Queenbee, who carries a massive panzer hive that has missile launchers, small bees, and two different types of laser attacks.
Mega Man 9 has Hornet Man, who sics robo-hornets on you. His weapon is arguably better than Blast Hornet's, as the hornets treat Mega Man like their "queen" alternately attacking like one-use Beats and bringing items back to him. Some loose items can only be retrieved this way. And they're even cute!
Animal Crossing has bees chase you if you shake down the wrong tree. You can catch the bee if you're very quick, but if not, you end up with a swollen face that your neighbors will remark on. Said bees also care less about the season, weather, and time of day. Whether it's winter, raining, or in the middle of the night, they'll still come after you with as much zeal as ever.
Spore: The Galactic Adventures expansion introduced the summon swarm ability, and the Cute and Creepy expansion had the bee swarm emote.
An optional challenge path revolves around this: Bees Hate You. Wandering bees attack you randomly, you can't use items or familiars that have a "b" in them, equipment with a "b" will hurt you, and monsters with a "b" in their name are stronger. And the final boss is naturally The Guy Made Of Bees.
Arakune from BlazBlue has a curse mark. Once you are hit, bees will come from the screen and begin the assault.
Metroid Prime 1 and 2 have War Wasps, very annoying giant stinging insects that tend to come in large numbers and respawn untill their hives are destroyed.
There's even a miniboss in the original Metroid Prime, the Incinerator Drone, which is a robot that attacks by blowing flames at you and disrupting a hive over it that sends out Barbed War Wasps that attack you.
Earlier in the game, the Hive Mecha is the home of several Ram War Wasps. Releasing these is its only attack, but considering that you have only one Energy tank, and your platform is in the middle of toxic water and it's hard to get back up on if a wasp rams you in, it's enough. And you have a window of time between one swarm and the next to damage the Hive Mecha.
Donkey Kong Country and it's sequels have Zingers as enemies, giant bees in multiple varieties that appear all over the place in levels. Many serve as bosses too, and that one in the terrifying chase scene in Donkey Kong Country 2...
Kingdom Hearts II has a minigame where you must defeat the flying demons in Twilight Town.
Re: Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories'' has a minigame in the Hundred Acre Wood (Well where else would we get bees in this game?) where you must get Pooh honey, while keeping the bees from attacking him.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep has the Hundred Acre Woods Command Board, which has Pooh tripping over while carrying a pile of honey jars as a board-specific event: this causes 2 kinds of honey jars to fall on random spaces and stopping on one (or having one fall on you) with bees around it causes you to lose money, while the ones without them give you more money.
Paper Mario has the Bzzap! of Flower Fields, which has two attacks: its normal sting, which has an Attack of 6 and may poison Mario; and it may summon five smaller bees which each try to sting him for 1 Attack each and may make him tiny (reducing all his attacks to 1). However, it has 0 Defense and only 3 HP.
One of the more annoying enemies in Toe Jam And Earl was a swarm of bees who would follow you everywhere. If you tried jumping into water to avoid them, they just hovered over you.
Kingsleys Adventure had Gustav The Grave, who was a bear who could summon bees to attack you. Bees AND bears. Strangely, this game had a lot of sharks too, though most of this is due to the game being centred on animal characters...
In Midway's old skateboarding game 720 Degrees, the announcer says "Skate or Die!" when the game's timer runs out. Take too long, and then a swarm of killer bees appear, and if your skater gets hit by the bees, then it's an automatic game over. The longer you run from them, the more their speed increases, until they inevitably catch up with you. They will also start to form menacing shapes as they speed up, such as a pounding hammer, a skull, a pair of scissors, and a hypodermic syringe.
The "Sting" spell in Secret of Evermore summons a small swarm of bees on a foe for a non-elemental attack. It's fairly average strength-wise, but it's notable for its alchemist being fairly well hidden in a desert.
In the later stages of Banjo-Kazooie, you'll encounter honey hives protected by bees, who will sting you if you break the hive. They have a maximum attack radius, but can only be defeated if you turn on your invulnerability when they attack you.
Bug! had bee enemies in Insectia and Splot. Being Airborne Mooks, they were incredibly annoying to fight- some of them even appeared out of nowhere to ambush Bug! (See here for an entire area filled with them)
Fallout: New Vegas has Cazadores, which are giant mutant Tarantula Hawks and one of the most terrifying Demonic Spiders of the game just under Deathclaws. While relatively fragile (compared to deathclaws), they are damn fast, making them difficult to target outside of V.A.T.S. They also happen to be poisonous so you'll be losing health like crazy if they get close. And they swarm in groups of 4-6. Certain companions like Cass and Raul are reasonably effective against them. However, other companions, like Veronica or Rex, will run right at them, get in one melee hit, and then die laughably.
In the Old World Blues DLC, you meet Dr. Borous, their creator. According to him, he made them sterile and docile. If nothing, they're as sterile as they are docile. Which is to say, they breed like rabbits and are insanely aggressive.
The main area in Infocom's Trinity includes a giant hive of man-size bees. They won't bother you if you don't bother them...but unfortunately the plot requires you to steal honey from them, leading to immediate death if you're not careful.
In World of Warcraft there's a quest where you must steal honey from a Furbolg village. Doing this will randomly cause bees to attack you, which dispels in either 10 seconds or jumping into a nearby pond.
The Swarm item in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed releases, well, a swarm of giant hornets who position themselves in the way of the racer in 1st place, hoping for him or her (and potentially other racers) to crash into them. Even after the sting operation, they'll continue to bug the beewildered racers by flying around their heads.
Resident Evil and the remake has larger than normal bees that pose almost no threat, but they attack in swarms and they do sting you, but their stings do very little damage, putting them into Goddamned Bats territory.
The remake has a puzzle that makes you use a still living bee to solve it and once the puzzle is solved, the bee comes to life to attack you. The remake also has a key resting on a table underneath a beehive just like in the original game, but now you have to use insecticide on the hive to kill all the bees before you can safely grab the key.
In The Sims 2 Free Time expansion, a Nature enthusiast sim who Takes a Hike can sometimes return home chased by an angry swarm of bees. The first game had the Beehive, which actually provided useful items but attempting to use it with a low mood would also result in the bees attacking. *
HarmoKnight makes you have a boss battle with a giant robotic bee.
Inverted in The Secret World; the bees are biomechanical, responsible for every player character's magical abilities, they put players back together when injured or killed, and they write the in-game codex. When you run into villains who know about them, they'll trap you or, in one case, cut off your legs rather than kill you for the bees to easily resurrect.
The 1.2 update of Terraria added Queen Bee, a giant bee boss that shoots smaller bees. Queen Bee can also drop the Bee Gun, allowing players to utilize bees.
In Fire Emblem Awakening, Gaius says in the free-time event tiles that he goes honey hunting and then offers to show his bee stings. In his supports with Sumia, she attempts to help him get more honey... and they end up chased by angry bees when she finds a beehive and tries to give it to him. Subverted later: seeing that she did not give up on the honey despite being stung all over actually raises Gaius's impression of Sumia, and finishing the support chain will lead to a to them getting married.
In Code: Half Demon, XANA's hornets to Inuyasha look like Naraku's Poisonous Insects, the Saimyoushou. In said chapter, turns out, XANA sent a SWARM of them to Earth. One could imagine what would happen if Naraku himself got a hold of these pesky program based creatures made by XANA...
Xaneth's dungeon in True Villains has chests filled with bees- chests that are at the ends of inescapable death traps. Yikes.
Homestuck almost averts this; Sollux keeps a colony of bees to create the powerful "mind honey." Unfortunately, he accidentally ingests some of it, causing his deadly Eye Beams to go out of control and kill his lusus.
Danya: Sometimes, kiddos, you don't have to wait around for the competition to kill you. Some of you are so imperfect that Mother Nature decides to do it herself.
The second death in v4 is similar in nature, where Dallas Reynolds is stung by a wasp and gets an allergic reaction. Unfortunately, he tries to give himself more room to breathe... by tugging at his explosive collar.
On The Simpsons Lisa temporarily has a beard of bees while searching for a new home for them. Marge freaks out over them.
Subverted in another episode. Homer has a giant sugar pile and is initially annoyed when a swarm of bees lands on it ("Oww! Oh, they're defending themselves somehow!"). However, the beekeepers arrive and offer to buy all the sugar to get their bees back. Unfortunately for Homer, a flash rainstorm melts the sugar and disperses the bees before he gets paid.
And again in a third episode, Bart is trying to help Lisa prep for an obstacle course, and she ends up hanging by her foot right next to a beehive. This was before the above 'bee-beard' episode, and in this instance, Lisa is terrified of being so close to their hive and helpless.
Smithers: "I'm allergic to bees, sir. They cause me to, um, die."
"THE BEE BIT MY BOTTOM! NOW MY BOTTOM'S BIG!"
"Or what? You'll release the dogs? Or the bees? Or the dogs with bees in their mouths, and when they bark they shoot bees at you?"
"Hey Willie! Catch the football!!!" *Nelson lobs the bee's nest at Willie*
Donald Duck was ocassionally bugged by generic bees in the Classic Disney Shorts. It got to the point where a new bee character, Spike (or Buzz-Buzz), was created to co-star with Donald in no less than six shorts. This trope is subverted in the last one of those, called "Let's Stick Together", as Donald and Spike finish the picture as good friends.
Curiously, the very last Donald cartoon with bees shows him as the rightful owner of a bee farm, and no he suffers no assault from them in the whole short... Though he had to deal with Humphrey the Bear, who wanted the honey and suffered the wrath of the bees AND Donald.
One entire episode of Futurama, "The Sting", revolves around an attempt to get space honey from space bees, bees who are "as large as a Buick and twice as ugly."
The 1945 Tom and Jerry cartoon short "Tee for Two" involves Tom attempting a golf game and Jerry making it pure hell for him. Near the end of the episode, Jerry kicks Tom into a tree, causing a beehive to fall on his head. Tom tries escaping from the very pissed-off bees by hiding in a bush, which Jerry promptly destroys. As the bees continue shooting around looking for revenge, they fail to notice a bamboo stem sticking out of a small lake. Jerry points out to the bees that it's really a makeshift breathing apparatus for the cat, and directs them straight down into the bamboo tube. You can guess what happens next.
In the Ruby Gloom episode "Hair(less) the Musical," Misery demonstrates how a picnic is worse with bees by jamming a honey stick into a beehive, causing the bees to swarm onto her face and sting her viciously. It's made creepier by the fact that she's mid-song when this is happening, and never breaks the tune.
Chuck Jones' 'Three Bears' cartoon The Bee-Devilled Bruin has Papa Bear determined to get some honey from a bee hive. Most of his resultant injuries are the doing of his idiot son, but late in the film he gets chased by a bee swarm and his face ends up horribly swollen with stings.
In "Pink Is A Many Splintered Thing" the Pink Panther once tried to hide from some pesky bees he'd annoyed by jumping into a hollow tree; the bees simply plugged up the open end with a rock, slipped into cracks in the trunk and proceeded to give the Panther what for.
The Paramount/Trans-Lux Felix the Cat episode "Felix the Cat Suit" had a bee (with a face strangely resembling Felix with a stinger on its front) ruin the Professor's Mirror Routine with Felix while wearing a big inflatable Felix the Cat costume. Stinging the "reflection" causes the Felix suit to explode.
Deborah, the solefemaleJudge of Ancient Israel, has a name that means "bee".
Hymenoptera, the order of insects that includes bees, wasps, and ants, is responsible for more lethal attacks on humans than any other animal.
Three words: Africanized honey bees. They are like European honey bees, but twenty times worse. Overly defensive and easily provoked, they will whip the entire hive into an angry frenzy and chase down a single person for over half a mile.
The reason why African honey bees are so aggressive? You would be to if you evolved with the honey badger as one of your predators.
Carpenter bees (specifically Eastern Carpenter Bees) demonstrate that not everything is worse with bees. Although gregarious, carpenter bees do not live in colonies like other bees (the time you would find more than one carpenter bee is if you were near their nests). Despite their large size and the scary noises their wings make, they are mostly passive and non-aggressive (unless they're seriously provoked). Although the males are slightly more aggressive (usually around other males), the best they do when a human approaches their territory is is hover a short distance in front of the face or buzzing around one's head. Since males have no stinger, these action are merely show. The females (who do have stingers) rarely use them. In fact, the killing of carpenter bees is now strongly discouraged since they serve an important function in pollinating plants. Regardless of these facts, many people still kill carpenter bees and destroy their nests because they regard them as a mild nuisance as well as their close resemblance to bumble bees, which happen to be more dangerous.
Most species of Australian native bees either have no sting or have a sting that is too small to sting humans with.
So the bees are the Least dangerous thing in Australia? Perhaps there it's everything is worse withOUT bees.
You know those aforementioned Japanese Giant Hornets? The Japanese honey bee is capable of killing it. Only within the hive and with a lot of bee buddies, but it still ends with one less hornet in the world. In this case, the bee is your only hope.
Accidents where lorries shed their loads on the road are bad enough but during an accident in Idaho the load in question was 400 beehives resulting in a cloud of 14 million bees being released, which resulted in every member of the team that responded to the accident being stung, though none suffered any serious side effects. The authorities are also worried the honey may attract bears too.
Though bears do eat honey, it would be far more likely they would be attracted to the brood, as that is what bears are usually after when they attack a hive
The New Orleans (originally Charlotte) Hornets basketball team.
With how many types of bees there are in the real world you could say this trope is Zig-Zagged because there are some types of bees that want to kill, steal, and just cause pain but some pollinate flowers to make fruits for us to eat, make honey, and are generally harmless unless you do something stupid to aggravate them.
In World War One, there was a battle in present-day Tanzania which stirred up multiple swarms of bees which attacked both the British and German troops. Thus the alternate name: "The Battle of the Bees."
Depending on the person, bees stings can be lethal to them unless they are rushed to a hospital right away. For the people who are allergic to bee stings, bees for them ruin everything.
Bee afraid. Bee very afraid
Waldorf: Do you think that would be any better if it had, say, some bees? Statler: They couldn't make it any worse! Both: Do-ho-ho-ho-hoh!