RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – There are some scary allegations flooding the internet about banana scented bath products that are said to attract bees and make bees so angry that they’ll start stinging anyone whose used the product. A WNCN investigation found out those who use the product have nothing to worry about.
When a bee stings he calls out to other nearby-bees to help him defend against danger.
“Their stinger has what you’d call a banana scent, a pheromone that it gives off,” said Beekeeper Dave Massengill. “The other bees detect that pheromone which smells like bananas and that’s what gives the attack mode.”
That pheromone is Iso-amyl Acetate, which also happens to be both a common fragrance and a flavoring used to give things a banana scent or taste.
“It’s a very strong pheromone,” explains Massengill. “That’s why they recommend you don’t eat bananas when you go work beehives.”
As it turns out, Iso-amyl acetate is the fragrance used to give the Minions bubble bath its banana scent and there’s been a viral warning about it that’s all over the internet which reads in part:
“I’m a chemist and found out I’m allergic to bee stings after working with Iso-amyl-acetate and was stung twice on my way home from work.” The internet posting warns not to “use it as a fragrance in a children’s product.”
WNCN contacted the maker of Minions bubble bath, which is banana scented. MZB Personal Care told us there’s less than 150 parts per million of the fragrance in the product. When the bubble bath is mixed with bath water the amount of fragrance is even less, saying it’s diluted to many parts per billion. In other words, it’s too weak to attract bees.
So, we conducted a non-scientific test to check it out.
Although you’d never use the product this way, we wanted to see what would happen at full-strength.
So we put two pieces of cloth next to three active hives.
One cloth had full strength bubble bath on it, the other had no bubble bath on it.
We left both pierces of cloth alone for several minutes to see what would happen.
There was so much bubble bath on the one cloth, the air was thick with banana scent. We let the minutes tick by, watching our test cloths carefully.
In the nearby hives the bees were busy with their own concerns.
After more than eight minutes, the cloth covered with bubble bath was still being ignored by the bees. They never came near it, expressing no interest in it at all.
So, although the Minions may be troublemakers in the movies, you don’t have to worry about their bubble bath making trouble for your kids with bees.