A utility for arming (creating) many bees (micro EC2 instances) to attack (load test) targets (web applications). This fork adds ability to hit multiple URLs with a percentage mix.
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Bees with Machine Guns!

A utility for arming (creating) many bees (micro EC2 instances) to attack (load test) targets (web applications).

Also, retribution for this shameful act against a proud hive.


  • Python 2.6
  • boto
  • paramiko
  • mkvirtualenv
  • python-crypto
  • python-dev
  • possibly other python dependencies

Installation (w/ virtualenv + virtualenvwrapper)

git clone git://github.com/newsapps/beeswithmachineguns.git
cd beeswithmachineguns
mkvirtualenv --no-site-packages bees
easy_install pip
pip install -r requirements.txt

Configuring EC2 credentials

Bees uses boto to communicate with EC2 and thus supports all the same methods of storing credentials that it does. These include declaring environment variables, machine-global configuration files, and per-user configuration files. You can read more about these options on boto’s configuration page


A typical bees session looks something like this:

bees up -s 4 -g public -k frakkingtoasters
bees attack -n 10000 -c 250 -u http://www.ournewwebbyhotness.com/
bees down

This spins up 4 servers in security group ‘public’ using the EC2 keypair ‘frakkingtoasters’, whose private key is expected to reside at ~/.ssh/frakkingtoasters.pem.

It then uses those 4 servers to send 10,000 requests, 250 at a time, to attack OurNewWebbyHotness.com.

Lastly, it spins down the 4 servers. Please remember to do this—we aren’t responsible for your EC2 bills.

If you wanted 3 agents requesting url A and one requesting url B, your attack would look as follows (empty url → use previous):

bees attack -n 10000 -c 250 -u 'http://url.a,,,http://url.b'

For complete options type:

bees -h

The caveat! (PLEASE READ)

(The following was cribbed from our original blog post about the bees)

If you decide to use the Bees, please keep in mind the following important caveat: they are, more-or-less a distributed denial-of-service attack in a fancy package and, therefore, if you point them at any server you don’t own you will behaving unethically, have your Amazon Web Services account locked-out, and be liable in a court of law for any downtime you cause.

You have been warned.


Please log your bugs on the Github issues tracker


The bees are a creation of the News Applications team at the Chicago Tribune—visit our blog and read our original post about the project

Initial refactoring code and inspiration from Jeff Larson

Thanks to everyone who reported bugs against the alpha release.