Episode 7: Operation Sting

Dominic Monaghan reflects on his journey to Malaysia to find the giant Malaysian honey bee.

BBCAmerica.com: What challenges did you face searching for Malaysian honey bees?
Dominic Monaghan: Finding thousands of bees can be relatively easy, especially when you have the help of some expert honey hunters, but since these bees are the masters of their domain they select the tallest trees so the collection of their nectar is easy.

What was the most exciting part of your trip to Malaysia?
Although I am terrified of heights, the ascent itself into the “bee tree” was a once in a lifetime experience. I climbed higher and higher until I was able to experience SO CLEARLY why the bees chose to live in that particular tree. At the tree top I had 360 degree views of the forest. Breathtaking!

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‘Wild’ Director of Photography, Frank Vilaca, shares how it feels to be stung by a swarm of angry bees.

BBCAmerica.com: What were some of the challenges you faced filming in Malaysia?
Frank Vilaca: How do you film Malaysian honey bees in a tree 140 feet in the air? Well, you have to trust some professional rope riggers, which we did, and they were excellent. Still didn’t help the fact the honey bees didn’t want me there, and the disruption resulted in a swarm of thousands upon thousands of bees. Even though I was well protected in a good bee suit, the bees still managed to sting me well over hundred times. The crew doctor administered a shot of steroids to keep the swelling down, but the pain and itching lasted for several days. The real comedy was on the ground watching the crew desert me in the tree as thousands of angry bees made their way to the jungle floor. They were not decked out in bee suits…watching them scurry around was quite comical.

  • Katie Odom

    Hahaha at Frank. This show is great! BBC America needs to fund more treks. You should send Dom to find the spiders that “killed” Nikki and Paolo in Lost! Were those even real? Would be sweet!