21 July 2008

Beelzebub's Minions

There is a nest of bees under my back deck. I use the term deck loosely, as it brings to mind an elevated structure that one can actually get under. The only thing that fits under my deck are dog toys. I often find myself in the prone position, scraping out a rubber ball or bone from under the "deck" with a rake. You can imagine the difficulty this presents in addressing the bee problem.

A friend of mine has a deck. Her husband built it. By himself. It's huge, overlooks their yard, and could be featured in a magazine. You know those pictures with the flowers pouring out of the pots on the deck in a cascade of color? Like that. Also planted by said husband. He also trims the gorgeous tree with the dark purple leaves that create a canopy over a portion of the deck, and he handles the grill action, also located on the deck. Yeah. If you're going to have a husband, folks, find one of this guy's brothers. They're in California. I asked.

Could you imagine what a different experience life in This Old Motherfucking House would be with someone possessing those mad skillz in residence? Neither can I.

So anyway, bees under my deck. Porch. Whatever. These bees are vicious. I consulted The Internets to see if the feared Killer Bees had made it up to WA state. (They haven't.) No, we have a strain of regular old bumblebees, Bombus Vosnesenski, which, according to The Googles, spend their lives merrily droning from bloom to bloom like hairy, diminutive Goodyear blimps. Under normal circumstances, they're all about the pollination, and are not vicious.

Unless you are close to their nest. Seeing as how their nest is located right at my back door, they're getting a might testy.

The other day, several of them had targeted me for annihilation. After busting out a few ineffectual Bruce Lee moves I didn't know I had, I somehow made it back into the house. Damned if the little bastards weren't furiously flinging themselves up against the glass door, still trying to take their ounce of flesh from my hide. The next day, The Bohemian got stung on the cheek, and Mason got stung on the leg.

The Internets advised bee dust, applied with a bee duster at dusk. My hardware store didn't carry these items, so on the advice of some guy sporting a buzz cut and a red apron, I settled for wasp and hornet spray. I'd thought to go for this foam stuff instead, but Mr. Aprons insisted that wasp and hornet spray was the weapon of choice. The can claimed a 27-foot directed stream. This, as you may have guessed by the name, is intended for wasps and hornets, which tend to build their nests up high, like in the eaves of your house. One can stand well back, direct a stream of potent potion at the nest, and run like hell before they know what hit them. Bumble bees, however, tend to nest down low, like under a board or a cheap-ass, low-rider, wanna-be deck.

The only way to hit this devil's brood would be to settle into the prone position on the opposite side, shine a flashlight under there with one hand to mark my target, let loose with the 27-foot directed stream (which, given the size of the "deck", would be reduced to about six feet), deftly get to my feet and make like a gazelle back over the nesting site without falling on my ass before they swarm me.

I wasn't really feeling this plan, being nowhere as nimble or quick as I was before moving here and getting my fat on. Also, according to The Googles, these guys can lock on to the flashlight beam and use it to hone in on one's ass like a squadron of pixie-sized stealth fighters, so I'd need to have the presence of mind to turn off the flashlight during all this. Better yet, just drop it, like deploying chaff and flares to draw the little bastards to a false target.

Regardless, I needed some protection. Not owning a bee keeper's suit, I made do with what I had lying around the house.

I dug out the camping poncho I'd once bought during a miserable, rainy "summer" vacation on the lovely Washington coast. In lieu of an apiarist's veil, Male Offspring kindly provided the protective headgear seen to the left.

Grabbing my flashlight and Mr. Aprons' aerosol can of death, I went to do battle. I stretched out on the grass, clicked on my light, and -- surprise -- my "deck" was apparently built over what used to be a small concrete porch. My beam reflected back at me from a concrete barrier wrapping entirely around the area where Beelzebub's minions had made their land claim.

I'd underestimated the enemy.

They'd chosen a fortress from which to make their stand. This would be close-in, hand-to-wing combat, requiring me to stand over their entry point and aim the stream directly down between the narrow cracks of the deck. Miraculously, my aim was true and I made it back in with no stings, being closer to the door and having avoided the prone position.

This morning, I found my weaponry was deficient. Mr. Aprons clearly needs to refine his pest eradication skills. The bees are not resting in peace, but are plenty pissed off. Instead of waking to find a field of wee casualties, I found instead a whirling dervish of frenzied, collective rage. Berzerker Bees, if you will.

I'm going back this afternoon for the foam.


  1. The fun never stops at Chez Cowbell! We get bumble bees in my garden and they really are pretty innocuous, but then that is out in the garden and I guess I am not going near their nest.

    Loved your bee fighting outfit by the way. If nothing else, the mask should scare the shit out of them.

    I don't have any bee fighting advice. Maybe you should borrow super husband for this job.

  2. Well if you can't borrow a super husband...go down to the local Lesbian hang out...They will be more then willing to help.
    There was a comedian who did a test on a lesbian beach back east...she pretended her bike broke and watched as the girls gathered round to save her....It was actually pretty funny. Our kind is so over helpful.

    Except me...bees scare me. Bumble bees are even scarier.

  3. oh man..im so sorry about your bee problem but i laughed so hard when i saw your killer bee outfit..im surprised they didn't die laughing..

  4. EvilG: Yeah. It's a barrel of laughs around this joint. Har fucking har har. And yes, you'd think my bee fighting gear would intimidate the little bastards, but no.

    Sageweb: Now there's an idea. With the added benefit of skirting that whole pesky testosterone/ego/ball-scratching deal. But then there's the pesky U-haul thing, so who can say. Still ... I'll take it under advisement.

    YDG: You'd think. If they're not going to have the decency to be intimidated, they could at least choke themselves to death on their laughter.

    RG: where's your comment, Pirate Boy? Put that thing down.

  5. I'm really glad I read this AFTER I spent some time today admiring all the bumblebees who were happily cavorting in my lavendar bushes. They looked so cute and happy.

    If it's any consolation, one was lying on his back and when I poked him his dead carcasse fell to the ground. Maybe he's a refugee from your camp.

  6. I really did Laugh Out Loud when I say your War-on-bees uniform! Priceless.

    Bummer about the bees though. I'm not freaked out by many things, but unpredictable angry things that can sting? They terrify me.

    Have you ever considered that the Old Motherfucking House might be built on a sacred Native American burial ground? Maybe you need an exorcist rather than a handy griller/builder person.....

  7. Swell outfit! Props for making your personal protective bee armor so unique (I have visions of the neighbors shaking their heads here)and practical as well!

    I'd suggest you smoke the little bastards out, but the way things have been going I suspect the net result would be catching the OFMH on fire and your insurance wouldn't cover bee related fire damage..

    If you have a large greenhouse nearby, give them a ring- you'd probably get more sound advice there than from the cavern of home improvement..

    Oh, and I'm with Elizabeth, I think it may well be time for that exorcism.

  8. Fine. I laughed. Ha-ha. Happy now?

  9. Seriously - I almost peed myself from laughter, picturing you, in the Scary Movie Bee Keeper outfit, trying to kill the little buggers.

  10. I'd have thought the outfit would scare 'em away.

    I don't have any suggestions but I wish you well.

  11. hehe! Thank you for the giggling distraction of your bee killer outfit! Made my day, as did your kind comment at chez tater. The greenhouse suggestion by Cee was excellent, and I bet they have some useful info for you. Those fuckers pack a wallup! Please be careful.

  12. Lorraine: If he was from my camp, don't let him fool you with his cute and fuzzy ways. He's a demon in stripes.

    Elizabeth: Well I'd hope it wasn't built on sacred ground, because then on top of it being such a suckass house, I'd then be contributing to the Old White Colonizers power paradigm. But the house very well could be a conduit for some pissed off demon. Anybody have the number of an exorcist?

    DL: I actually did consider calling an apiarist or something, because with that whole phenomenon of the bumble bees dying the past few years, I hate the thought of killing them. But after I found out how the "deck" was built, I realized they'd have to tear the deck to pieces to get the little fuckers out. Then when they went on the stinging rampage ... well, Buh-bye, Bumblebees.

    RG: Yeah, I got that from the BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA on the chatter. Glad my trials and tribulations provide such entertainment to the masses.

    Casey: you'd think, eh? Fearless little bastards.

    Tater: In your case, I truly AM glad my trials and tribulations are providing entertainment to the masses.

  13. Did you try smoking them out? Or bright lights shining under the deck - porch - whatever? No wait a minute that's for skunks. Loud music - nope that's for groundhogs. Sorry run out of ideas here - go for the foam!

    And as for the outfit... well... I'm with Casey on that one.


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