Thursday, April 5, 2012

"And the only reason for making a buzzing noise that I know of is because you're a bee...And the only reason for being a bee that I know of is for making honey...And the only reason for making honey is so I can eat it."*

              So, about those bees.
        The exterminator came on Monday afternoon and had a good look at them. I could hear Sir Robert T.L.W. talking to him downstairs so I hurried all the way around the building to the back to listen in on what was going on. Robert didn’t recognize me because my hair was down and I was wearing a different shirt (this seems to happen to me a lot with apartment managers), so I had to introduce myself, which was awkward, since I spent a good ten minutes screaming to him on the phone on Sunday. And we'd spent a good half-hour together earlier that day. But I guess I'm utterly forgettable in every way.
        The exterminator explained that his ladder wasn’t tall enough to reach the hive. It would have been tall enough if my downstairs neighbor didn't have a serious hoarding problem and state regulations hadn't forbidden us from moving some of his "things" (read: garbage) out of the way. I found it all dumbly ironic, since Robert has no problem popping into my apartment whenever he feels like it, despite the lease (and the state) specifically stating that he can't.)

        Anyway, the exTerminator was looking at my kitchen window and wondering aloud if he could get at the bees from there (an unappetizing proposition).
         I tried to explain to both Robert and the exterminator, whom I'll call Julian for reasons that remain inexplicable even to me, that they’d never be able to reach the bees from my window because of the side the screen is on: if they removed the screen, they’d be too far away to reach the vent. The vent is on the side where the immovable glass part of the window is anchored.
         Both being men and middle aged and one being Hungarian and the other Armenian, they completely ignored me. I am female, after all, and not yet old enough to slap them around like their mothers or wives would. So we trudged up to my apartment and looked at the window. And guess what? Julian couldn’t reach the hive because of the way the window panes and screens are positioned. Really? No kidding!
        Julian said he’d come back with a taller ladder. I asked when. He said, “Not today.” Awesome!
        By way of comforting me, he said, “The bees don’t want to be inside. They get stupid when they come inside and die within 20 minutes.”
        I said, “Well, don’t think I’m ridiculous, but I taped up the vent above the stove, just to be safe.”
        And I did right!! Normally, I feel like I’ve got some sort of twisted, moronic concept of how things actually work, but Julian said my instincts were spot on and pointed out a few other places I could tape as well. He said the scout bees sometimes get lost and then they head towards the light and wind up inside. That’s when they head for the windows (just like the Interweb told me!). So there aren’t holes in my walls: they were getting in through the stove vent. Excellent.
Duct tape. Not just for wallets anymore! Also good for ducts.
        So I was gone all day Tuesday and all day Wednesday, and sometime mid-afternoon Wednesday (yesterday), Sir Robert called to ask if I was okay, because he hadn’t heard from me in a while and wanted to tell me the hive had been removed and to make sure I wasn’t dead. I appreciated the gesture.
        And today, there were three more dead bees in my apartment. I guess they were stragglers from the now-defunct hive. Sad.
        Bee one is dead between the screen and glass pane of the living room window. Bee two was circling the drain (metaphorically) on the stovetop. He was under the burner grate in the midst of death throes, and I felt cruel spraying him with Raid, so I decided to quickly smash him and give him a quick death. But I couldn’t get the magazine into the depression of the burner just right, so I ended up needlessly torturing him for about 30 seconds while slamming my current issue of Vanity Fair on him from every possible angle and yelling, “I’m sorry, bee! I’m really sorry!” Julia Roberts’ face is covered in bits of bee corpse. And I certainly didn’t do that bee any favors. It was the equivalent of leaving it in a bear trap to gnaw off its own leg. I felt pretty bummed about that.
        Bee three was just dead on the kitchen floor. Sigh.
        And so it’s over, I guess. Or I hope so, anyway. My dad said I should keep an EpiPen handy, just in cases, so I guess if I ever do get stung, I probably won’t die a hideous death. Not this time.
Lacey: 11, Bees: 0
*A.A. Milne: Winnie the Pooh.

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