Sunday, March 25, 2012

Son of a Bee.

I really like my “new” house quite a lot. My favorite thing is the sound of the trains. The Small Southern Town is a railroad hub, and is home to a fairly large railroad hub. My street dead-ends into the last turn a double set of tracks make on their way into said hub. As such, I get a LOT of train noise. This would probably drive some people crazy. It’s probably why this part of town, while not anywhere near as ghetto as my previous home in this town, is still fairly low-rent. To me the sound of trains rumbling along, sometimes squealing along the tracks, frequently blowing their whistles – is an absolutely wonderful, soothing sound. It does not disturb my rest at all.

What does disturb my rest is a barely audible scritch-scritch-scritch coming from my window frame.

At first I was wondering if I was simply hearing things. When I decided that something was indeed making these noises, I though that perhaps a branch was scraping against the window frame. After about a week and a half of being disturbed by intermittent sounds I could barely hear, I finally ventured around to the right side of my house. (The right side of my house isn’t easily accessible. There are all sorts of bushes and brambles on that side. Near the front, access is fenced off; at the back, Viktor’s doghouse sits wedged into the space between my house and the fence. Getting to the window involves climbing over the doghouse.) The first time I went out there, the only thing unusual that I saw was a rather large hole (about the size of my pinky finger), bored into the window frame.


Thinking something must have burrowed in there, being the cause of the annoying scritch-scritch-scritch, I went back inside to fetch the Raid. How I wish I had also fetched my camera! I sprayed the hole full of Raid… and out came a ginormous bee. He sort of fell to the window stoop, and stood there, trying to shake his wings free of bug spray. I should have finished him off. Instead I maneuvered him onto a stick and plopped him into my neighbor’s yard. (The house to the right of me is empty… surely it could have at it over there, right?) I hurried inside to get my camera, but he was gone by the time I got back.

I looked it up online. Turns out it’s a carpenter bee. [See wikipedia.] I wished I’d gotten a photo.

But dammit if that night I didn’t hear scritch-scritch-scritching from the window frame.

(I should mention that it’s been bugging the hell out of Charlie, too. She keeps swatting at the window frame, or sitting on the window sill, cocking her head, listening. Sometimes she tries to climb atop the lower window frame, which inevitably ends in an awkward crash and some feline indifference-pretending-butt-licking.)

The next morning, as I sat on my bed, I saw the bee fly away from my window. I grabbed a paper towel, wadded it up, scurried outside, climbed over Viktor’s house, and stuffed it into the hole. The entrance to the hole was packed solid with paper towel.

And dammit if that night I didn’t hear scritch-scritch-scritching from the window frame.

Sunday afternoon, I was out back working with Viktor, trying to get him to sit on command and to not drag me around the yard when on a leash, when I heard Mochi barking from inside. Mochi is normally very quiet, and only barks when someone knocks at the front door, so I went inside to see what was bothering him.

In the center of the living room floor, Charlie and Mochi had a ginormous bee on its back. Charlie was batting it around. It seemed unable to right itself. Mochi was barking with excitement. I grabbed the nearest scrap of paper I could find, scooped it up and tossed it out the front door.

As it flew off I thought, “That looked an awful lot like my carpenter bee…” I went into my bedroom, and sure enough – it had drilled a hole INTO MY HOUSE. There was a hole, and a small pile of sawdust.


I called my mother for the purpose of saying, “That fucking bee drilled a hole into my bedroom!” and was on the phone with her… when it came in from the other side. I wish I’d grabbed my camera and started filming; as it is, I simply narrated this to my mother as it happened. I could hear it in there, scritching. It began poking its legs up over the edge of the hole. Then (and I kid you not) it stuck its ass out through the hole and sprayed shit into the air.

Time for you to go, bee.

I tried to capture it on video, but it didn’t do much. You can kind of hear it buzzing:

Then I sprayed wasp spray (the scary kind that can shoot for 30 feet and that claims to kill wasps on contact) into the hole from both directions.

An hour later, I swear I heard it scritching in there. Not to mention my bedroom now smells like scary poisonous wasp spray.


Foreigner Joy said...

My idea would be to buy one of those things you hang outside that attracts them, traps em and kills em. Otherwise you kill one, another will come along.

Burndog said...

Bees and wasps cause me moderate amounts of terror...this would cause me to poo inside my pants and sleep outside for the rest of my life. If the horror of a bee trying to DRILL A HOLE INTO MY HOUSE didn't kill me...the fact that it SHOOTS SOMETHING OUT OF ITS ARSE WHEN IT'S ANGRY would leave me devoid of hope.

Sorry that I have nothing useful to add.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you haven't seen those before since you lived in Georgia for so long. They're pretty common down there.

They lay eggs in those holes, so if you really want to get rid of them, you need to plug the holes. Also, they like old, untreated, unfinished wood. If you can paint/treat the wood, that might help.

They can cause structural damage, but they don't really sting.

We have them on my porch/deck and they're out there all summer buzzing around. When it gets cool at night, I often find them the next morning, sitting on my plants. I can pet them they're so still.

Anonymous said...

Having said all of that, they are pollinators, and bees are on the decline, so I'm all for keeping these huge suckers around so I can eat the veggies from my garden!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, carpenter bees have their ups and downs. We had a whole colony at my parent's house in Missouri for years, and none of us three children were ever stung. (Granted, we were old enough not to push it, either.) My Dad actually liked them because during the summer they used to hang around the back porch and chase away other bees and wasps. My Mom hated them for the exact reason you mentioned: chewing holes in the house and pooping all over the steps. Every summer my Dad would smoke them out and every following summer they'd be might just have to learn to live with them.