Monday, June 26, 2006

Plan "B"

O.k. So somewhere I am getting the bizzzness. It seems that S'mee's house is just full of springtime hope and the neighborhood bees are loving every square inch of the property. While Thor and I traveled to Utah, a swarm of busy bees landed in our locust tree and made a hotel of it for a week or so. #3 called about three days into our trip to let us know the happenings at home, one of which were our flying guests.

We drove home on the appointed date and found they were still hanging around; literally. I took a quick snapshot or two of the little(?) guys and went to research on the computer. (If you click on the photos you can see a better - up close- vision of what I am talking about! Note the size of the tree limb to the diameter of the bees clumped around it! Mommy! That's one freaking bunch o' bees!)

One thing I found was that on March 18th of this year a woman had a similar swarm attack her car as she drove into her driveway. Seems the woman was too afraid to exit her car and began to drive away from the bees at her house that now targeted her vehicle's windows with darting little head butts... for 2 miles! She was frantic and began to call on her cell phone to local authorities. She called the police, fire dept., animal control and even code enforcement to no avail. NO ONE would help her. Finally she found a pest control service who gave her the name of three bee keepers. Two never returned her phone calls, and the third was an elderly handicapped man who said for $60.00 he would try his best. His assessment was that she had Africanized Bees, who like to defend their space, so much so they would indeed follow her for 2-3 miles if need be to get her to stay away from their new home.

After refusing the elderly man's offer, the woman checked into a hotel and hoped that they bees would move on. They did. Officially the report in the paper said they moved on and probably found a new home somewhere in the neighborhood. Did I mention this woman was our neighbor by ten houses?

Now here we are. S'mee, who has an unnatural, yet strong distain for pretty much anything that creeps, crawls or flies; and Thor who is the king of the do-it-yourself-ers. After doing a tad more research I was determined to call a bug guy out and pay him whatever he demanded to get rid of these bees, "killers" or not. I didn't want to take the chance. The research stated that if the swarm hadn't moved on in 3-4 days, chances are they like the new home and are building a hive. Grrrrreeeaaattt! Not. These bees had been here for over a week! I was getting nervous.

Now a side note here is that the front yard has been needing some attention. #4, came by to "get cool and eat your granola bars while you were away!" -so he was sitting on the couch when the phone rang. "Thor's residence, may I ask who is calling?" "Oh, well S'mee is on vacation right now, can I help you?" "hmm, well, no thank you; but I will pass the message along. mmhumm, thanks, bye." Seems a gardener had called and asked if we wanted yard work done. #4 felt guilty eating granola so he got up and began to do the yard work himself.

He cut down a small tree that has needed to go for a year, and trimmed another, the one the bees are sitting in at the time. (if you look closely at the photo you can see the fresh cut limbs just below the swarm!) He pulled weeds and raked and hacked, and went on hhis merry way, NEVER noticing the buzzing pile of bees directly over his head! When asked about his work later he replied that the large brown clump just looked like dead locust buds and he couldn't reach that branch without a ladder, or it would have been trimmed as well! YIKES!

No harm done.

So Saturday and Sunday go by and S'mee is getting more nervous with every passing minute. Monday: Thor has come up with a plan that will be implemented TONIGHT! after work and after we all are in for the night. I am still freaking out.

We kiss each other goodbye for the day and Thor walks out side. Thor walks back inside. "Babe, come look at the bees, they are really flying!" We walk out and the entire swarm is now in a frenzy and flying all over the place. We pop back into the house and shut the door after us quickly! After a few minutes they are gone. DISAPPEARED into the sky to who knows where. So I guess I will never know if these were regular honey bees or Africanized bees; either way I am glad they have moved on!

add to sk*rt


Sarah said...

Totally creepy. I saw "The Birds" when I was a teenager and now anything that flocks, swarms or lies in wait sends shivers up my spine. I'm glad they're gone - no thanks to your totally useless pest guy.

chronicler said...

After the big guy saw the pic his first statement was "great picture!" then he said, "yep, those are honey bees". The queen decided your front yard was not a suitable location for the hive so off she flew this morning to find a new home. Everyone follows the queen. Well, at least in the bee world!

Susan M said...

My dad kept bees when I was a kid. I should do a post about it on my blog. Once he moved the hives from some farmland we rented to our backyard and there were bees EVERYWHERE. Our neighbors were not happy.

s'mee said...

Sarah, Welcome! Side note on The Birds... when I was in jr.high our local theatre put on a Hitchcock Festival. Big Brother worked at the theatre and knew all the ins and outs. He and his friend thought it would be grand to let go of 5 or 6 black birds they caught during the end of the school yard scene. Yup, hilarious that one! They got their effect and never were 'caught'. Scare the whooey out of everyone in that theatre.

Chronicler, where's the Big Guy when I need him? Everything we read desribed them both the same, except the honeys would be slightly smaller. ugh! And yeah on that whole queen bee scenario!

Oh Susan! The *idea* of bee keeping appeals to the hippy chick in me, but I don't think I could ever pull it off! I would love to read how your family was involved. (you should write a book about your life...way way way interesting)

Maren said...

Yikes!! I am SO glad to hear that they've moved on. Scary. That was an *un*welcome home surprise.

I just finished listening to the audio book version of "The Secret Life of Bees" just last week. Interesting creatures they are. And, I thought the book was good (set in the segregated South in the 60s).

s'mee said...

Maren, I also enjoyed The Secret Life Of Bees. An interesting read for sure. Thanks for stopping by! I hope all is well at summer camp and that cutiepie is eating!

Linda said...

Oh.My.Gosh. I am totally freaking out just reading this account. It only took one bee sting for me to become totally paranoid of bees. But bees in this number????!!!!! Y I K E S

At least now I'll be prepared if they ever take up residence on or near my property.

holli jo said...

Reading this entry made my skin feel weird...

My grandpa kept bees, so I kind of like them, but I wouldn't want them hovering in my back yard!

Jamie J said...

So weird! I'm glad they left, but I would be freaked out. Hope they don't come back!

tlc illustration said...

Boy - I was glad to read the last paragraph! I was really getting worried reading about your saga, and then seeing that you were going out to deal with them - and that this post was on Monday - it has now been *days* since then! You could have been carried off and sequestered in some hive somewhere! Shesh!

Glad all ended well.

Lisa M. said...

OH Smee.

This is creepy. *chuckle* I am terrified of bees.

I am so glad they moved on.


It's great to read you again!

Kim Carney said...

Now, that is some bee story. And alot of bees! I once had two hives in my back yard (reg bees) and when we mail ordered some one time, the queen had died in route and her bees all died with her, not leaving her for a minute, surrounding her for protection, and died. It was fascinating and sad. but I am not sure I would like that swarm hanging out in my front yard, without a hive. I wonderful if the queen was there and there were others scouting out a good hive location? The story about the poor woman in her car is terrible, someone should ashamed of themselves for not coming to her attention!

Yolanda said...

PLEASE change your hive picture!! It's making me crawl each time I see it (LOL--yup---VERY allergic to bee stings!)