I came home frequently during college. I don't know if I missed my parents or just enjoyed the familiarity of my surroundings back in my rural existence of Southern California. Or maybe I just hated LA. Hard to say for certain, but thinking of Los Angeles still makes me sick to my stomach. Regardless, one such weekend sojourn involved a major battle undertook by my father and myself.
I had gone to our mailbox located down the street from my home and saw a most curious poster taped up. It was basically a 'WARNING' sign detailing how a neighbor's small dog had been attacked and killed by Africanized honey bees.
This really struck a nerve because just the day prior I noticed an inordinate amount of bees in our front yard. Circling and almost swarming around me, I could hardly get from my car to the front door without fear of being stung.
As I drove back home and exited my car, the same story transpired - bees everywhere. I asked my mom if she had seen the sign. She hadn't. I told her and my father about the recent killing and asked them if they had noticed the large quantity of bees in our very own front yard. They had noticed, but had thought nothing of it. I found that quite surprising knowing that my Dad was incredibly allergic to bee stings, and had always taken some precaution in the past.
Almost immediately, my Dad and I walked outside to investigate.I don't think we actually thought we'd find the Africanized honey bees' nest situated in our front yard. We had one smallish tree in a flower bed. It happened to contain the neighborhood nest of doom. Black as night and bigger than the size of a basketball, this nest looked incredibly intimidating.
Almost without hesitation, we decided it would be a good idea to knock it down.
Yes, foolishly we took Africanized honey bee extermination into our own hands.
We both grabbed river rocks from another flower bed and started taking aim for the nest. Rocks vainly soared through the air making zero contact with the nest or any branches for that matter. Simultaneously bees are zooming all around us, as we weave and bob to avoid getting stung.
As the thought of having to retrieve and replace all the rocks we were throwing set in, Dad came up with the ingenious idea of drowning them with the hose. About this time, Mom is peering at us through a front window as we explain to her that the
deadly neighborhood nest is located in our tree.
Smart cookie that one, staying indoors.
Anyway, we roll out the hose, and my Father takes command. He aims and fires directly into the nest, and boy did that swarm get angry. Thousands - millions? - of bees are now getting wet and falling to the ground. Others are flying directly towards us. As tough as I think I am, I am not going to stand there and let bees come sting me. At least Dad has a hose to protect him. I run about 200 meters down the street to avoid the onslaught of angry bees being sprayed at. I wait a few minutes and decide I should come back and continue this fight with my dad.
He yells at me to grab the hose. Amazingly, this man has not been stung. Most of the bees seem to be grounded, but there's still an entire nest in our tree. Tom has decided he will get his tree cutting shears and will cut the limb down. As Mom peers at us through the blinds, it now dawns on me that our neighbors have probably taken to their windows as well to also bare witness to this spectacle.
Hose in hand, I spray the nest, I spray the pile on the ground, I wildly spray any bee that flys up to me. I literally look like a person having a seizure with a hose in their hand. About this time my dad gets right underneath the tree and reaches this
long tree cutting contraption into the air towards the branch. One snip is all it took for this huge black ball of wet angry bees to come crashing down. Dad and I immediately drop everything and run about 400 meters down the street. Out of breath, sweating profusely, we ask each other if we'd been stung. Still no injuries. Amazing, we are bee fighting machines.
We cautiously ease our way back up the street and onto our driveway. There's an alarming since of calm because the number of swarming bees seems to have diminished. We approach the black ball that is now on the grass. Thousands (millions?) of bees are walking in slow motion all around the area. None of them seem to be able to fly due to their wings being drenched.
I decide to continue with hose duty until we reach a decision on how they should all be killed. My mother is still inside the house peering at us through the window.
Dad decides that despite what this might do to his grass, poison should be involved.
He abandons me once again to get the poison while I spray the ground and into the air at rogue bees coming at me.
At this point, we are an exterminating machine. Water, poison, water and more poision are certainly slowing this nest down. Suddenly, out of left field comes my mother. Now that all the dirty work has been done, she has finally decided to help.
Like a total caveman, she comes running over with a 2 x 4 and starts pounding at the drown bees on the ground. I imagine that the neighbors are now enjoying a complete spectacle with her involved.
At the end of this hour long battle, we did come out victorious.
Not one bee sting was had amongst the three of us.
Some people call an exterminator when such a discovery is made.
Hillbillies , much like ourselves, take the matter into their own hands.
Americanized honey bees may be able to kill a dachshund, but they have absolutely nothing on a white suburban family with some rocks, a hose and Round-Up (and a 2x4).
Created: Jul 25, 2010Document Media