Friday, February 23, 2007

Empirical nature observation of the week

Unlike a bee, a single wasp can sting more than once.

While riding home with neck of cycling jersey unzipped for airflow, lodge a wasp between skin and lycra shirt. Count the number of stings. If greater than one, hypothesis is consistent with data.

BTW, this particular wasp was also way more painful, per sting, than a bee. Bee stings generally bother me for half an hour. This burned for days. I’m not sure how repeatable this experiment is, though. It is the second most unlikely bike mishap I’ve ever had.


Geek with Wings said...

Good emperical nature observation, and also, ow.

C W Magee said...

The really strange thing is that less than a week later, I got a honey bee stuck in the air vent of my helmet, and it stung me too.

I've been riding to work/school since 10th grade, but until last week I had never been stung by anything.

At least the bees don't hurt very much.

Vaguery said...

Has one considered the possibility that one is wearing a scent of some sort that is attractive to Hymenoptera? New deodorant? Shampoo?

When I used to be the kind of biologist foolish enough to go out in the field (briefly), I found out about that one. An unsuspected change of shampoo brand, and all of a sudden the bumblebees were chasing me down and trying to climb in my ears....

C W Magee said...

Interesting hypothesis. But these all occurred coming home from work, not going to, and were all fairly high speed collisions that involved air intake areas, so I suspect they just got in the way. Eucalypuses have been flowering and the summer rainshave come, so there might just be more in the air than usual.