Tuesday, August 2, 2011


A few mornings ago, I was sitting at my breakfast table, eating cereal and staring out the window when I saw this:

... a terrifyingly large bees nest.

Not a small bees nest or the type where sweet, local honey is produced, but a mean, paper-mache-like, Winnie-the-Pooh-sized wasp nest.  And not only that, it was COVERED with angry wasps all trying to get into it's enormous hole.

I did what I always do in these situations, I ignored it for a day or two and hoped it would go away.  

It did not go away.

In fact, the hive got larger with each passing moment and the number of bees it housed seemed to increase 100-fold.  

And while I couldn't get a good look into the hive to see exactly what these bees were doing, I know for a fact that they were playing loud house-music, smoking marlboro reds and breaking beer bottles against the side of my house.

These were obviously no simple bees - these were the meanest of the meanies and the angriest of the angry.  

Every few hours, the Queen Bee would summon her worker wasps back in to the hive for a roll call - or to hand out terrorist assignments, who knows - and they would angrily bang into my kitchen windows while pushing and shoving their way into the hive.

It was exhausting just to watch.  Not to mention extremely frightening.  

Perhaps I've never mentioned this before, but I am actually scared of bees.  If we are being totally honest, I'm scared of three things (in no particular order):  bees, balloons and clowns.  

I have good reasons to be afraid of all three of these items, but my fear of bees is perhaps the most rational.  I've been stung a bijillion times (a very mathematical term) and bees are constantly landing on me.  Elizabeth is convinced that it's a blond hair thing, but I've never seen any scientific proof that the white head attracts insects that sting.  Personally, I think the entire bee community of Northern America has an alert out just for me.  I'm probably some Holy Mecca-like place that bees can only hope/try to get to once in their lifetimes.  And to make matters worse, I never react in the correct way when I see a bee or when a bee lands on my person.  Instead of standing still and waiting for the bee to fly away, I do what is known in my family as  A Wild Bee Dance which involves me screaming, thrashing my arms around my face and running away as fast as possible.  

If you need a video picture of A Wild Bee Dance, Daniel Day Lewis does an amazing imitation of me in the movie "A Room With a View."  I tried to get a clip of it off You Tube, but it ends up that Elizabeth and I might be the only two people who find that exact moment of the movie to be amusing.

Go figure. 

My painter (who is so often at our house that my sister Elizabeth has taken to calling him Eldon) told me that I should just get a can of wasp spray from Home Depot and take the sucker down by myself. 


Sorry, Eldon, I'm just not that brave.

 So instead, I called Bee Busters, or as I like to call them, "The Best Home Service I Ever Paid For."

May I please introduce you to Dale:

(not to be confused with Elizabeth's boss, Dayle, who as far as I know has no side business ridding the world of angry hornets)

Dale enjoys his job and he has no problem posing for pictures.  Dale also told me that our buzzing interlopers were actually White Faced Hornets and not wasps.  And he told me that White Faced Hornets are the meanest of the entire bee family - in fact, Dale considers them the Wolves of the insect world.  Apparently these little punks are carnivores and they can sting thousands of times.  They eat all sorts of bugs and are therefore a type of natural insect repellent.  Dale said White Faced Hornets are sneaky and will wait for an insect to be distracted before he pounces and goes in for the kill.

And to think, I was just objecting to the all-day partying and unrelenting buzzing noise.  

After donning his Mighty Bee Suit, Dale set up a ladder and prepared his instruments of destruction.

The hornets did not like the ladder.

And the hornets did not like Dale's instruments of destruction:

Within seconds, the hornets nest - Queen Bee and all - was gone.  

Dale sprayed a special white powder on the nest remains to keep other bees from starting their own bee home there and also to kill the hornets that returned from the hunt and found their home missing.

You can just hear them, can't you?  "Uh-oh.  What happened to my Queen?  I'm sure I left her here somewhere."

Life is peaceful again at our house.  Dale cleaned up the remains of our Hornet's Lalapalooza and packed up his suit.  I wrote a check and breathed a sigh of relief.

Better money was never spent.


Elizabeth said...

Ha ha! And how terrifying! Just looking at pictures of that nest made me shudder. They definitely looked like the kind of wasps who are up to no good.

And dare I ask why you are afraid of balloons? All balloons or just popping ones?

Elizabeth said...

Wait, it just occurred to me: how did you get those pictures of Dale?!!! Were you OUTSIDE while he was killing the wasps? Did you not think you might get swarmed?!!

Martha said...

I know! It was terrifying! I took the picture of Dale standing far, far away from the hive before he started his work... and the rest of the photos, I took from a safe distance.

And balloons - especially when they pop and make that loud sound - are just scary. And ALL balloons are potentially the popping kind. Best to stay away from the all.

Tara said...

Mart, I, too, am afraid of balloons and clowns. Rightly so, I should say. Bees...yes, a bit afraid of them too. I completely sympathize with your situation and applaud the solution! And how cool was Dale's Truck? (see, I'm now truly the mother of two boys)

In closing, I'm shocked and disappointed that you were unable to locate Cecil's Wild Bee Dance. An excellent scene, one of my favs too. xx

Martha said...

yes. wouldn't a good clip of Cecil, dancing wildly around, book in hand have been wonderful? alas. And my picture of Eldon disappeared, too. Oh well. I've been meaning to email you for the last few days... how's your summer been? -Martha

Jeffrey Goude said...

It could have turned bigger and bigger if you let it stay there for long. Glad it’s gone now! Anyway, did you check the entire house for any signs of wasps? Wasps could be hiding anywhere, so be sure to keep an eye on every corner of your house to ensure that your home is wasps-free.
Jeffrey Goude @ BugManiacs

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