Today at my monthly writer's group luncheon I was telling the story of my next novel to one of my writing buddies. Just as I was getting to the big reveal, she leaned past me and stared out the front window. "Oh my gosh, what are all those bugs doing in your yard?"
I turned to see a black cloud of fat, flying insects whirling around over the rocks and wildflowers. We went to the window and watched them settle into my tree, a dark, bulging, crawling mass of tiny bodies. Black and gold striped bodies. Bees.
Now that the bees had crashed the party, no one else wanted to stay. Once the uninvited guests settled in, my friend sneaked past them to get to her car and I ran for the phone. My kids would be coming home from school in less than an hour, and I didn't want those bees there when they arrived.
The first pest control number I dialed gave me an answering machine. The second one was busy. The third one said they'd send someone right over. Not long afterward, my four-year-old son and I sat by the front window, watching as the pest control man donned his bee suit---white coveralls, heavy blue gloves, and a safari hat draped with mesh. Then the pest control man started up his sprayer and bravely marched into the tree.
I thought the bees would go nuts, but they mostly just sat there as he soaked them. When they began to fall off the tree in clumps I felt a little sad. Poor bees. Too bad we couldn't keep them and get free honey.
Then I imagined that swirling swarm attacking one of my children with their poisoned stingers.
Die bees, die.
"Those were the nasty kind," the pest control man said after he was done and a pile of mostly dead bees lay twitching at the base of my tree. "They wanted a piece of me."
I watched as he wrote up my bill. "So is there some dangerous pesticide out there? How long should I wait before going out by the tree?"
"I just used soap and water," he said. "Nothing dangerous."
My kind of pest control. I guess I could have done that myself, except that I don't have a bee suit. Or a powered spray pump. Still, $125 to give my tree a soap shower...