How to murder someone with bananas. And also bees.

Ah, the things that science teaches us! It reveals the far reaches of the universe. It guides us toward a better understanding of ourselves and our history. And it lets you murder people with fruit, by turning into an apiary beast master.

Another day, another way to use knowledge to kill, kill, kill. In this case, it would be a rather sophisticated and restrained Agatha Christie type kill, as long as you could pull it off. What you'd be attempting is gaining control of a swarm of armed insects and turning them loose on your intended victim. You'd be doing this by talking to them in the only way you can.

Ants and bees need special ways to communicate. They only live for six weeks and there are thousands of them in a hive that has to work as a unit, so they're hardly up to memorizing faces. Instead they communicate by smell. Ants and bees use smell to communicate who they are and what others around them should do. It's so strong that when other species coat themselves in the scent of the ants or bees they've just eviscerated, the hive will welcome them in - no matter what they look like. Honeybees know that a queen is missing from the hive when her scent fades. They know when to mate with a queen because of scent she give off. And when they attack, it can also be due to scent. When a honeybee stings a person, they leave a scent mark on their victim. That scent tells other bees that there's danger, and will sometimes goad them into an attack.

One might think that this scent is a special, unrecognizable, and impossible-to-synthesize bee smell. Actually, it smells a lot like bananas. Beekeepers are advised to keep from using hair or skin produces that are banana scented, and even keep from eating bananas just before they go out to tend their bees. When one inexperienced bee keeper had bananas for breakfast and then tried to stock a hive wit the bees she had ordered, the insects poured out and went straight for her, stinging her through her veil and her jeans. Clearly, to kill someone with a banana, you just have to spike their food or their lotion, and get them near some agitated bees.

If you want to decrease the risk to yourself, bees will be repelled by the scent of almonds, so all you need to do is cover yourself in almond oil and your victim in banana oil. That way, you have the powers of a beastmaster and the lovely smooth skin of a teenager. Unless you're allergic to almonds.

(By the way - io9 does not judge. The scent that turns bees on? Lemon. Use it wisely.)

Top Image: USGS

Via Honeybee and Thinkquest.