Monday, November 16, 2009
The bees are gone.
I had been hoping that once the weather turned cool, they would migrate or something, like they did the last time. After spending that summer, they left as mysteriously as they had arrived. Had we not been so afraid that some of them might still be in there, we could have had some honey. By the time we peeked in the can again, they were long gone, their hive gone to ruin.
No such luck this year. The nights are cold now, the days cool, the flowering plants dormant, and the bees are as busy as ever. Not that we really minded. They never gave us any trouble, until recently.
It was Halloween night. It was "The Amityville Horror" bee behavior. I believe in that story, flies or bees or some flying menace blackened the windows.
On Halloween night, when the door hung open to give out treats, and while we were oohing and ahhing at little Harry Potters and dozens of fairy princesses, the bees came in. In two's and threes, every time the door opened, they flew straight to the kitchen lights until we had a little mini swarm banging into the fixtures like moths.
I said, "They're going for the lights. We'll just turn the light off."
Sister St. Aloysius said, "No! They'll just go all over the house after the other lights that are on."
I had already turned off the kitchen lights and the bees were flying around in confusion, and heading in two's and three's to the living room area. I turned the kitchen light back on. The bees came back into the kitchen.
At this point the kitchen sounded like a beehive, the buzzing was getting louder. Sister St. Aloysius dug out the fly swatter.
"Wait!" I said. "Leave this to me."
I shuffled her out the front door with the candy bowl. I found a clamp lamp in the garage and plugged it in by the compost bin. I turned out every light in the house and opened the front door. Sister Mary Fiacre dozed in front of the glow of the TV.
All the bees were out in seconds flat. Seconds!
Since Halloween, we've had to shoo them out in the evening with less trouble when we take out the trash or let the cat in.
Yesterday a man came to the door in the middle of the afternoon. "Do you want me to take these bees away."
"What?" I said. "Take them where?"
"I'll take them and bring the can back to you."
"What are you going to do with them?"
"I'll take them and make them a box. It will take a couple of days for them to transfer to the new place and then I'll bring the can back. I'll have to do it early in the morning or in the evening when they're all home."
He said he had done just that with three of our neighbors who also had hives. One family could no longer sit on their deck because the hive was in the eave overhead. They would have had to sit and sip lemonade in a cloud of bees.
Mr. Rodriguez gave me his phone number and said he would be back in the evening. At 7pm the bees were still with us. I thought maybe he was going to come for them in the morning. At 9pm when I put the trash cans out at the curb, the bees and the compost bin were gone.
"I didn't hear Mr. Rodriguez take the can away!"
"I did, I saw him." Sister St. Aloysius, as far as I knew, had been at the other end of the house all evening. In fact, I was in the front room all evening and I never saw her go by. You have to go through the whole house to go out the front door or the back door. They used to call this a 'shot gun' house.
"I asked him if he got stung. I meant, just now when he was moving our bees, since they have been so pleasant with us."
This is true. They are right next to the trash cans, and when we take out the trash or sweep up or wash the car, they just bumble around our heads.
"He said yes, he got stung a lot. But I think he meant in general and not just now. He wasn't wincing."
I wanted to ask her how he 'sealed up the can', which is something that he had mentioned to me, that he would seal up the can and then just pick it up and take it with him, but I was stopped cold by the pressing thought of how Sister St. Aloysius had ended up viewing the bee removal.
Was she bi-locating? Was she both in the back of the house saying a rosary and in the front of the house talking bees with Mr. Rodriguez?
I had asked Mr. Rodriguez, if there is any honey, could he bring us a little. I hope I manage to be available when the can is returned. Or I can just send Sister St. Aloysius over to see how the bees are fairing in their new digs while she is making lunch here at home.