Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Is 2013 the Summer of Rampaging Bees?

What is it with the bees this year?
All of our house's eaves look like this
I tried to sit outside this morning.  On my own deck, which we pay for every month with hard-earned cash.  It's MY deck, right?  You'd think I could take a cup of coffee out and enjoy the shade and a breeze before it really gets hot, but no. And here's *why*:  This appears to be a "bad bee year", which old timers will tell you happens about every five years.  This means that if you go outside and sit, anywhere, (the deck, the lawn, the garden, the beach, the next county) forget it, because there are yellow jackets everywhere, doing this hover-type hang-around movement, and they specifically don't want your company.  If you persist and try to sit long enough, they will get all up in your grill like "Hey human, I need you to leave right now." Wrath of bee…isn't that the worst?  Aren't we all so totally afraid of bees? They're like a million times smaller than us, but we totally lose. It. when there's a bee nearby.  I'm always amazed that they are confident enough to know that if they zing all around us, we will freak completely out trying to get away from their little tiny butt, even if we're not allergic.
I already got stung once, because, silly me, I tried to stock up chicken food for my hens.  I plomped (yes, I make up words) a 50# bag of feed into the big storage bin by the chicken coop, and this hornet flew up out of nowhere, like: "WTH lady!? We're working here!" and stung me right on the top of the hand, which hurt more than I expected and then swelled up like a small balloon.  I marched up to the house, muttering and cursing bees,  got the wasp spray, and totally nuked the whole nest, plus shot down some more hornets who came home from wherever hornets go, too, which was pretty gratifying, but still…why do they HURT so much?  That was a month ago, and they're already building again, same spot. 
We went camping right after I got stung, and we kept watching as my knuckles gradually disappeared and the swelling spread over the whole top of my hand.  I had to take off my rings.  I couldn't see any veins on my hand.  Compared to my left hand, I looked at my puffy right hand and was all hey, it looks like I'm 3 years old again.   I also couldn't make a fist, which was weird; it felt like my hand would pop.  Annoying, but fortunately that was the extent of the reaction for me.  Everywhere we've been this summer (camp, the grocery store, the kayak rental place), I hear the same thing, "The bees are BAD this year."  It's pretty sad when I (who strongly dislike winter, though I live in winter country) am hoping for a hard winter, just so we might have fewer bees next year…
So today…like I was saying, I tried to sit outside with my coffee and laptop to balance a bank statement, but after swatting like 7 bees to death around my bare feet and nearly spilling my coffee and the computer onto the deck, I gave up and went inside.  The rest of the bees are still bopping into the glass door like, "Yeah, that's right.  Stay IN there, you. This is OUR space."  I've used up two cans of bee/wasp spray on them this year, and unless you're a really good shot, that means a whole lot of spraying randomly around and missing.  It's great when you hit one, though--they go down like "aghhh..I can't…move…hate you…aieee".  Then I always have that fear that I'll somehow still step on a dead bee and get stung anyway, sort of like a parting shot, so I'm always watching the deck for dead bees.  It makes the whole picture of summer in the garden a little less...lovely.
They seem to be everywhere this year--Shane got stung trying to move some stuff out of an old Ford that we are selling before it turns into a permanent part of the yard (it sort of already is, but now it's going away, bees and all).  They are all OVER that thing…inside the rim of the bed, the tubes of the contractor racking, behind the rearview mirrors. 
We also seem to have them inside my daughter's car mirrors.  If you bump into her rearview mirrors, you can actually hear an angry humming as they all try to scramble out.  It's fun to get in, close the windows, and then play with the electric mirror settings.  Hmm…maybe a little to the left…now to the right..oh, whoops, did I squash your house?  Bees come straggling out, waving their…antennae?.. like "WHAT? We're trying to watch DWTS here! Do you MIND?"
If I knew that they have a purpose, it would help.  Honey bees, yeah--they're awesome, and I plant things just for them.  But the yellow jackets and wasps…just, no.  I'm not feeling it.  Which reminds me, we're out of wasp spray.

Stay safe out there-

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