Oh, don’t look at me like that — I’m not the only person who does dumb things. Unfortunately, the dumb things I do seem to have a potential for being life-threatening. And it’s happening again right now.
(Spoiler alert: Since you’re reading this, you know I survived.)
This morning was lovely. After two days of screaming winds that tore up Las Vegas, uprooting huge trees, blowing patio furniture into swimming pools and stirring sand from the desert into huge clouds that coated everything with fine grit, it has finally died down. As I sipped my coffee and read the paper, I opened the sliding glass door so I could enjoy the fresh air. After awhile I left the dining room and came in to my office at the other end of the house and was on the computer for most of the morning and making phone calls. I just went back to fix some lunch when I heard a sound that made my blood run cold. The sound of death on shiny yellow wings. Bees. Lots of them. Close by.
Being allergic to bees, I reacted the way most people would to the rattle of a snake. I froze. I did not move. They were inside the house, buzzing against the windows beside the sliding glass door, which was (still!) open. Dummkopf! MORON! IDIOT!! Yes, I had walked away and left the door to my house wide open to bees, stray cats and any other miscreant in the area.
I ventured closer, slowly, quietly, and slid the door closed because although there were a dozen bees inside, there were ten times more outside swirling around on the patio.
I concentrated on breathing slowly and not making any sudden moves, and something floated to mind: I remembered hearing that spraying flying insects with hairspray makes their wings stiff, they can no longer fly, and they drop to the ground and die. Good. That’s good. Die, bees!
Now I don’t dislike bees. They are very useful creatures. They pollinate fruit trees and flowers. Without bees, the world would be a dreary place. But this was an entirely different scenario than watching them buzz happily around my apricot tree and flit around the honeysuckle. These were not happy bees and they didn’t look at all friendly, either. African bees maybe? In my house? YIKES!
Then I remembered something else — bees do not like dark colors. Dark colors remind them of bears. Bears rob their hives and steal their honey. I was wearing black pants and a dark gray sweatshirt. I was dressed like a bear. Fortunately, these bees were too busy trying to find a way through the glass to critique my ensemble, so I quietly backed away and went for the hairspray. But before that, I got out the Benadryl — I had providentially bought some a week ago — and peeled a handful out of their wrappers. A doctor had once told me that if I were stung, gulping a handful of Benadryl would ward off anaphylaxis until the paramedics could arrive. Believe me, if I got stung, I wanted to be able to gulp those things down in a heart beat– while my heart was still beating!
So back to the dining room and gently pull back the curtain which they were hiding behind. Before I tried the death-in-a-can, I had another thought — and this has worked with trapped flies. I gently moved the curtain toward the door gathering up the bees on it as I went. Then, I slid the door open, holding the curtain there so they could smell the fresh air. The bees, of course, once they realized they were in the clear would gratefully fly out. Wouldn’t they? No, they wouldn’t. And didn’t. They flew right back to the glass and resumed buzzing. You mean to tell me that bees aren’t even as smart as flies? Well, that’s sad. So now I had no choice.
I aimed the spray and figured I better get it right the first time because if not, I was going to make them mad. I sprayed, they dropped to the bottom of the window and then … shook themselves off and went back to buzzing. Damn! (Not only are the bees not dead, but I’m going to have to wash hairspray off the window. If I live long enough.)
So I gingerly pulled the drapes closed so they are at least trapped (I hope) against the window. I’ve retreated to the office and am wondering how long it will take them to actually die. How long do bees live? And what do I do about the ones on the patio? And OH DRAT!! I just remember the gardeners are coming today — they’ll be here at any time. I will definitely have to warn them — last thing I need is for them to go out with their mowers and blowers and get stung to death.
The bees are gone. Mostly. The ones inside the house are not there anymore but now there’s a mystery — where are their corpses? I saw two in the sink (down the garbage disposal with them) and one in the kitchen window sill (I’ll get out the vacuum), but there should be a little pile of bee bodies at the bottom of the dining room window. There aren’t. But there isn’t any buzzing, either.
If I go out and find a hive on my patio or hanging from the fig tree, I’ll let you know, but in the meantime I hope the rest of the guys made their way safely somewhere else and got back to the business of making honey.
Go, bees, go!!