Watch what happens when you disturb a hive of 40,000 killer bees

A film crew making a Smithsonian Channel documentary about bees captures slo-mo footage of an attacking swarm of angry killer bees that will you make you thankful you're not a documentary-film maker.

Danny Gallagher
CNET freelancer Danny Gallagher has contributed to Cracked.com, Mental Floss, Maxim, Break.com, Mandatory, Jackbox Games, Geeks Who Drink and many, many other publications in his never-ending quest to bring the world's productivity to a screeching halt. He lives and works in Dallas. Email Danny.
Danny Gallagher
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What happens when you disturb a hive of 40,000 killer bees? Well, first, you're more thankful for body-length latex suits. Video screenshot by Danny Gallagher/CNET

Remember when you were a kid and you were playing outside and got stung by a bee for the first time? You probably ran into the house crying to your mom as if you'd been bayonetted in the arm by some mutant insectoid.

Well, keep the memory of that pain in your head, because you're about to see what it's like when a hive of 40,000 killer bees starts gunning for you.

The Smithsonian Channel released a "behind the scenes" clip on its YouTube page from its upcoming bee-focused documentary "Secrets of the Hive." The clip features the crew shooting an Africanized killer bee hive being unleashed on their cameras.

First, the crew members prepare for the shoot by covering as much of their bodies as possible, for obvious reasons. They also put on very bright colored, protective suits because killer bees like to target dark parts of the body such as eyes, ears and the mouth, according to the video.

Once they disturb the hive, a swarm of bees immediately starts pouring out and attacking the crew. You can see the bees pounding the darker part of their suits, such as their masks, and even hear some of them make contact with the mask. The filmmakers also run a stick covered in black felt across the hive so you can see the angry bees pouncing on it. Try not to imagine any part of your body in place of the stick.

Of course, the media likes to portray these bees as swarms of flesh-seeking missiles, but they react in such a way only when they're provoked or feel threatened.

Saguaro National Park, located near Tucson, Arizona, is home to hundreds of Africanized bee colonies, and the park tells its visitors, through literature provided by the US National Park Service, that these bees "do not roam around searching for something to kill. However, they can be extremely aggressive when defending their colony." They advise guests that come into contact with these bees to "always treat them with respect and leave the area immediately."

So, if you visit Saguaro National Park or any other park with killer-bee colonies, it's not wise to start a game of " Beehive Tetherball" with them.