Hornets Turned a Classic El Camino Into a Nightmare in Viral Video

"Gonna need a bigger bag."

It’s a classic urban legend: Your sister’s roommate’s brother’s ex-girlfriend’s uncle’s barber went to check out a cool car for sale, but the owner’s asking price was so low that his suspicions were instantly aroused. The catch? Somebody died in the car, and the smell simply won’t come out. That’s pretty close to the plot of a video that’s gone viral on Facebook, except in this case, it’s real. In the video, posted by Ohio bee removal company The Bee Man, a modern-day Hercules removes a hornets’ nest the size of a teenager from a Chevrolet El Camino and captures the whole thing on camera. As of this article’s publication, the video had over 250,000 views on Facebook.

The hornet in question is the European hornet (Vespa crabro), a big, scary-looking flying insect that builds large, papery nests. As the disembodied hands of our protagonist methodically disassemble the huge nest in this car, hornets buzz around him and crawl over his protective suit. And while this whole thing may make the viewer feel like having a panic attack, the stalwart Bee Man remains steady as he methodically disassembles the giant nest.

Whereas you or I might scream throughout the whole process of cleaning a massive hornet nest from this car, the stoic car restorer barely utters a word. In fact, the first words he says in the entire video are nearly five minutes in, as he stuffs chunks of the nest, still crawling with hornets, into a plastic grocery bag:

“Gonna need a bigger bag,” our hero remarks dryly. Truly a mountain of calm among a raging storm of bees.

Despite the nasty look of these hornets, though, this Bee Man’s chill demeanor is perfectly reasonable. Sure, the European wasp is quite large, with the average worker measuring about an inch or two long and the queen — which you can see near the end of the video — growing around 30 percent longer, but they usually only sting when protecting their nest. Safe and sound in his beekeeper suit, he’s protected from their exceptionally painful stings.

And what’s that stuff he’s pumping in? The casual observer might assume it’s a smoker, which beekeepers often use to make bees less aggressive when opening up their hives. But in fact, in the comments on the video, The Bee Man reveals that it’s a pesticide dust, explaining that these invasive hornets don’t pollinate plants and are better off dead.

“Since these don’t pollinate (and actually hunt and kill honey bees) we just exterminate them,” he wrote. European hornets are the largest social, nest-building hornets in the world, and they’ve made themselves at home in North America over nearly the past 200 years. But there are some bigger hornets in your backyard, too. The cicada killer (Sphecius speciosus), which you may see out and about around now, is often even bigger than the European wasp.

So yeah, the European hornet may be nasty, but it’s not the baddest in town. Fortunately for the average person who isn’t spending their time ripping hornets’ nests apart, these insects usually won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. In the meantime, make sure you stay wary of a used car that seems too good to be true.

If you enjoyed this Inverse story, check out these videos of a man removing a shed-sized yellow jacket nest.

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