Mask made into hornet nest

Create Some Buzz!

Nope, not THAT kind!

Say you’ve got most of your haunt laid out and it’s looking really good. Well, except for that annoying hallway that leads between the swamp-o-doom and the open grave. If only there was something simple you could add in as a transition. That’s where our good friends Apis Mellifera come to the rescue – bees!

A single bee

From: Sciencing.com

While bees are wonderful insects, people are naturally afraid of them. Just hearing their buzzing sets you on edge. I’ve seen the toughest, most stoic of people lose it and start flailing their arms like a drunken marionette when just a single bee makes an impromptu visit, so imagine the reaction to walking into a swarm of them. But why imagine it, when we can so easily create it!

Mr. Burns with evil grin

From The Dailymail

First, you need to gather your extensive list of equipment: plain popcorn, a sewing needle and fishing line. Yep, that’s it. Just thread one piece of popcorn on a length of fishing line, and then hang them where you want your swarm to be. See, I told you it was easy! I prefer one “bee” per string, but you could probably get away with a few spaced along the string if you want. Just make sure that they are far enough apart that you can’t see the popcorn in low light.

How you arrange your swarm is up to you, but my preference is to have just a few at the entrance of the hallway, then a sudden, big swarm. Having only a few bees initially catches people off guard and makes them wonder what is happening without giving it away. And it’s always fun to see the group’s reaction when the person in front suddenly flinches for no visible reason when they run into that first bee. Of course, they think it’s less funny when THEY discover the cause of their friend’s reaction. And it should be about this time that the guests leading the group hit the main swarm and the real fun begins!

You will need to set up sound for this prop; it doesn’t work without the buzzing of the bees. Start it off very faint when the group enters the hallway and just turn it up a little until they hit the main swarm, then you can really crank it! There are plenty of places to find sound effects, but if you’re looking for an easy answer, try looping a few passes of this fly-by with brief pauses, then launching into this full-on frenzy.

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I wouldn’t be surprised if you have already dismissed this prop as ineffectual and quite possibly stupid. When someone first suggested it, that was my exact reaction. But having seen the havoc it creates, I am now a firm BEEliever in this very simple little prop. Another great attribute of it is that you can set this up practically anywhere. You don’t need much space, the materials needed cost $5 and bees can be added to practically any theme. Got a swamp? – bees. Haunted house? – bees. Gang of evil clowns? – yep bees!

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You just need a way to hang the bees and a space that has low lighting (so the bees are invisible). Hallways work very well, as you can run a string across the path and then tie the strings with the bee along that.   I recommend having some extra rows of bees ready for quick repairs; your guests are likely to rip some down as they hightail it out of the swarm.

I really like this as a nice filler prop – great for keeping the tension up and your guests moving along at a good pace.  Maybe right into that spider web you placed at the end of the hallway – or would that be just a little TOO cruel? I don’t think so either!

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By the way, the main image is a hornet nest built around an abandoned mask – from iflscience.com

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