Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Bees in the Sukkah

It never fails. Every year (almost) the weather clears up for Sukkos and we go out to enjoy a beautiful lunch in the shade. Then, just as everyone is enjoying the honey-dipped challah, out come the bees.
Many responsa exist on how to deal with the little critters. Is it allowed to kill them? It is allowed to trap them and, if so, how?
Several, years ago, while working in a biology lab, I was given a unique solution to the problem of annoying insects in the sukkah. One must remember that insects do not breath through mouths and lungs like mammals but rather take oxygen in directly through pores in their exoskeletons. The oxygen then diffuses into the bloodstream just underneath.
This means that the insect must, in effect, breath in whatever it's coated in. That's why they swim like crazy when you pour water on them or flush them down the toilet. Unlike mammals that can close their mouths, the insects have to breath in the water and drown.
So the first thing you do is buy a spray bottle, the kind that sprays stain remover or Windex.
Now, you could fill the bottle with water but instead, consider a clear, sugar-free alcohol like vodka. You could also choose a coloured alcohol and/or one with sugar content but be sure you don't like your guests before you do as they won't be coming back after you demonstrae this technique.
Fill the spray bottle with vodka, bring out to the sukkah and being to enjoy your meal. Sooner or later, the bees will come. When they do, whip out the spray bottle and douse them with the vodka. Remember that they have to inhale everything on their carapaces which means the vodka will go into their bloodstream, rendering them intoxicated faster than a Lubavitcher on the Rebbe's birthday.
Depending on how much alcohol you use, different reactions will occur. A light coating will most like cause the bee to fly away. Too much and you will drown/alcohol poison the bug to death. The right amount will cause the bee to fly slowly and unsteadily to the floor where it will proceed to walk to the door of the sukkah and hail a cab (bees are responsible insects). Alternatively, you could offer it a coffee in exchange for a promise to tell all its friends to stay away.
Good luck and a happy, healthy Sukkos to all.


פראדוקט said...

Very funny!
Alternatively, you tickle the bee underneath its arm. When it opens its mouth to laugh, you throw in a cherry that will suffocate it (Old joke).

Nishma said...

An interesting question on this method may be, though, whether it violates the Torah prohibition on wasting food. While using the vodka in this manner is, in a certain way, not a waste as one is using it in a useful manner, when it comes to food items, the Halacha sets certain standards that imply that using a food item in a non-food way is deemed a waste. Would this not also be true for the vodka? On the other hand, is saving someone from the danger of a bee sting -- which can be dangerous for some people -- simply override this concern.

In the spirit of chatzi lachem and chatzi laShem, I thought I would add some halachic seriousness to this humour -- and insult to implying that any being can become more intoxicated and thereby pierce the veil of this world.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Bartley Kulp said...

I think that an easier solution would be to chain an Iguana (before Yom Tov of course next to a honey pot in some corner of the sukka. The Iguana will have a feast on any bees trying to land there.

Dr Mike said...

Vodka's food? News to me. I use stuff that looks and smells just like it to disinfect wounds.

SJ said...

on crosscurrents, they have an alarmist article titled, "strawberries in the sukka" lol

EsPes said...

we didnt have ANY bees this year! theyre all dying out

Garnel Ironheart said...

Hi espes,

I'll send you one of the two hives I caught the little buggers building above my sukkah.

EsPes said...

so kind of u.
but maybe not

David said...

They're not bees.

They're wasps.

Garnel Ironheart said...

Nah! The WASPS were doing Thanksgiving next door!