In mid-June 2002, green rain fell from the sky over the town of Sangrampur east of Calcutta. Panic stricken villagers rushed to temples to pray and it was widely felt that some form of chemical warfare had been unleashed over the area by unknown forces. Soon after, the pollution department of the West Bengal government got into the act and quickly discovered the culprits: bee swarms.
As bees migrate through the air in the millions, they defecate as a way to keep their body weights down and to cool their system. If it rains at the same time, the faeces are carried down by the showers and falls as greenish-yellow liquid! A similar phenomenon observed over Vietnam and Laos in the Vietnam War was also ultimately linked to bees.
When something similar happened yet again over South East Asia in 1981 with the Cold War still on, the US accused the Soviet Union of developing deadly biological warfare weapons and trying them out over these regions.
With the knowledge of hindsight, we now can safely conclude that bee droppings were mistaken for weapons of mass destruction. An example of how nature can fool humans quite easily even in the modern age.
This piece is in a lighter vein, but as my later blogs will show, there is also much to be concerned about as man seeks to control the forces of nature in a struggle that might yet have grave consequences.