I used to study bees. We did experiments using freshly hatched bees. TO get those bees out of the nest, we would use a vacuum to suck up all the bees into a canister so they wouldn’t attack us. Be vacuuming is just as fun as it sounds by the way.
Bees wont fly if its dark, and they cant see red light so we would do the vacuuming in a small dark, red lit room. One day one of the other scientists dropped the canister full of 500 angry vacuumed bees. They were everywhere and they were angry, but at least they didn’t fly. lab bee stings are way worse than wild bee stings (no one knows why) so people who aren’t usually allergic to bees have really bad reactions. It was the scariest thing I have ever experienced.
I used to study carnivores and megaherbivores (really really big herbivores) in South Africa. I had to stare down and then run away from a huge bull (male) elephant once, totally unprepared and on accident.
I contracted E. coli O157:H7 from spinach in 2007, while I was taking a Food Microbiology class in college. I diagnosed myself with E. coli based on my symptoms! It was super scary to realize what I had and have to go to the hospital. I was there for 4 days! That really helped me appreciate food microbiology and food safety, and lead me to the career I have now as a microbiologist for General Mills.
One of my scariest experiences was developing a panic disorder near the beginning of my PhD studies. I woke up in the middle of the night sweating, my heart racing, unable to breathe, and with my heart leaping out of my chest. I thought I was having a heart attack! Fortunately, I was able to determine that I (probably) wasn’t going to die, but I still had to go to the emergency room for treatment. I ended up severely agoraphobic for months, and couldn’t hardly be around people or talk to them without feeling like I was going to die.
I was really scared that it would never go away and that I’d have to be a hermit and never be able to study science again. Fortunately, with appropriate treatment, I was able to get my anxiety under control, but I still battle it today. The worst part about it is that I felt so stupid bc it’s anxiety not related to anything that can really hurt you like Jeff’s African animals or Zoe’s bees or Kenzi’s E. coli. It’s no fun when the fear is irrational, but it doesn’t make it any less real or potentially harmful.