Let's Sing Along With the Bees, Shall We?
The Beaner has a Pooh bear that sings (why is it that in-laws always buy NOISY toys for your kids? at least this one is cute...) a catchy little tune about bees: "The BEES in my shirt are shining brightly" — and here Pooh's shirt lights up with little bee outlines — "oh so LIGHTLY! shining BRIGHTLY! The BEES in my shirt are shining brightly, oh my twinkle BEES." Then Pooh says something like, "bees, bees, silly bees," followed by "Let's sing along with the bees, shall we?" (twice) and "buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz, etc." to the same tune. There's more buzzing (from the bees this time), a giggle, and an assertion that "oh, I think the bees LIKE you" before Pooh moves on to his second little ditty: "Bees twinkle brightly, that's what they do; bees twinkle brightly, that's what they do; bees twinkle brightly, that's what they do... and they also love to buzz." All very charming.
Until the bees invade your house, that is.
We knew our back deck had a bee problem as early as last summer, when I was growing tomatoes and peppers out there. Large wasps would hover around me as I watered the plants, and they stung my sister-in-law as she stood next to Al while he was grilling one night. We didn't know where they were coming from, but we figured there had to be a nest.
Ladies and gentlemen, there were FOUR. Al found them when he finally got the combination of time and weather he's been waiting for to tackle his deck projects. He went through a can and a half of wasp and hornet spray taking them all out, though four or five bees survived and hovered around his head, asking for spare change with which to pay for a room, while he painted the railing. A couple got in the house, but we were able to shoo them back outside.
Since Al had to move all the pots and outdoor furniture into the house to clear the deck for cleaning, I weeded out all the pots indoors while he scrubbed and painted outside. We agreed to put the white plastic outdoor tables—of which the bees seemed especially fond—out with the trash on Sunday night, though for some reason Al didn't put the matching chairs out with them.
The deck didn't dry in time to stain it on Sunday, and we decided we wanted to go with a different color of stain anyway, so the deck project was put on hold until next weekend. The pots, chairs, and decorative table all stayed inside (though I moved the three pots with actual flowers in them to the front garden). I was a little eeky about having the pots stay inside for so long because I found a weird little bug in one of them while I was weeding, but rather than have to re-prep the deck again next weekend, I figured I'd try to get over my bug phobia.
So Monday passed without event; the babysitter came and played with the Beaner while I worked in the living room with the pots. I didn't see any bugs. Then on Tuesday, while I was holding The Beaner and simultaneously checking my e-mail in the living room, I noticed a bee on the sliding glass door. I thought, "huh, I wonder how he got in here?" and started formulating a theory about the bee squeezing in through the weatherstripping between the doors. Then I saw another bee crawling on the sliding door track. I called Al and asked where the wasp spray was.
By the time I located the spray, stashed the Beaner in the Pack 'n Play in the bedroom, and returned to the glass door, there were no less than FIVE bees in sight. I sprayed them all, wigged out, and called Al again. He said he'd come home as early as he could, but since it was only 3pm, I was on my own for at least a couple hours. About 20 minutes later I spotted another bee crawling up the leg of one of the white plastic chairs, and a new idea occurred to me: Maybe it wasn't the tables the bees were so fond of. Maybe there was a nest UNDER ONE OF THE CHAIRS. Which, of course, were in the living room now.
I killed the bee on the chair and another that had been playing dead (but who really wasn't! faker!) next to the doormat with the spray, but I didn't want to ruin the lovely fabric window blinds by spritzing the one camped out there. I was also reluctant to use a fly swatter on him because a bee authority (OK, the guy who ran the lemonade stand at the Maryland Rennaissance Faire) once told me that bees can smell bee blood, and it drives them nuts—kinda like how sharks smell blood in the water and get all attack-y. If my theory about the nest under the chair was correct, then smashing the bee on the blinds could cause all his buddies to come swarming out for vengeance. Instead, I cowered in the basement and in the bedroom, hoping that the bees, who seemed half-starved and a bit lethargic, wouldn't realize that there were other rooms in the house (including a kitchen full of tasty treats like lemons and peaches).
When Al got home, he carefully inspected the white plastic chairs and confirmed my theory: one of them housed a fifth wasps' nest. He gingerly carried the chair outside, sprayed the nest... and watched another TEN bees fall out of it. He didn't manage to get the bee that had been hanging out on the blinds, but I discovered another corpse by the sliding glass door this morning, so I'm hoping all the little buzzers are accounted for.
Amazingly, none of us was stung.
I still can't get the Pooh bee songs out of my head, but now the words go something like this: Ohhhhhhhhhhh, BEES freak out Mommy, that's what they do; bees freak out Mommy, that's what they do; bees freak out Mommy, that's what they do... and they also love to nest. Bzzzzz!