Monday, August 14, 2006

Rockin' The Suburbs

Before I moved into my current Xanadu in Towaco, NJ, I lived in a townhouse a mere 4 miles south of here. There was a slight bee problem once. I saw some bees flying into the attic from the outside of the house so I took it upon myself to check it out. And it was hunched over in this hot, sweaty attic that I saw the top of a beehive and about 7 or 8 hornets. Or yellowjackets. Maybe they were wasps. So armed with a flashlight and a can of some bee killer which sprays over 25 feet, I destroyed the apian menace.

A couple of weeks ago, I was mowing the lawn in the backyard and noticed some bees (I'll be using the ter
m "bees" as a catchall term to represent the yellow and black striped things flying around) floating over one particular part of the lawn. I got up close and saw them landing and crawling underground. Underground bees? Never heard of such a thing. So I went to the garage and dug through my suburban assault kit for some bee killer. Two cans of ant spray, some Yard Guard, mosquito repellant, weed killer....ah! Some Ortho bee spray. I aimed where the bees were landing but instead of spraying them with a powerful liquid jet, I unleased an expanding foam. It looked like someone dumped Marshmallow Fluff on my lawn. It wasn't very effective because I couldn't see the nest so I grabbed a shovel and started digging. The part of my brain that should have been telling me not to dig at a beehive with a shovel wasn't working right then but nothing happened. The bees were gone.

Yesterday I noticed some bees flying around the new retaining wall, right in the cor
ner by the garage. I love when they're bunched together. They're easier to kill. They kept swarming in from somewhere behind me and landing in about the same spot. I grabbed that can of foam and unleashed hell on the mini swarm. Again, I couldn't see the nest so this was more amusing to the bees than anything else.

So this time, I grabbed a small tennis raquet-like object and started swinging. I discovered a killer backhand! Actually, I should say that my backhand was stunning. Standing in the doorway of the garage, I'd wait for one to fly nearby and swing, waiting for that satisfying "thwack" of a bee hitting the strings. Then I'd look on the ground and stomp on my stunned victim. Mwah ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!!! It was delightful!!!!!! But they still kept coming.

So I bought that spray I used in the townhouse. I don't know if it was working because, yes, I couldn't see the nest. But I unloaded the entire can in the spaces between the bricks. And then I started hitting them with the raquet again. And they still kept coming. Time for the big guns. Time for the hose.

I'm sure there was a time in my life when I was told not to annoy bees with a garden hose. But the
temptation was there so I did it anyway. And it felt great. Occasionally, one would fly nearby but it was unable to penetrate my watery defenses. Plus, I had a paddleball raquet. And then I got stung.

The tools of ignorance.

Yeah, I had it coming. I deserved it. But I don't remember bee stings hurting this much. To make matters worse, I dropped the hose when I got stung and it landed right on the handle so the water kept spraying. Right at me. If bees could laugh, they were doing it now. Hey bees, know what? Your stupid friend is dead! And it didn't hurt me that much. And my clothes will dry!

When I first moved to the townhouse in 1996, there were some issues with the new construction. And after everything finally settled, the contractor asked if everything was okay. As I joke, I said there were a lot of bugs around. He made a snide comment about city boys like me (?) needing to realize that there are bugs in the suburbs. What a douche bag! I was 28 at the time and for all but 2 years, I had lived in suburbia, killing moths and caterpillars and ants and stuff. I'll never get them all, but as long as there's a chemical in a can, I'll be there spraying away.

Hey you. Chipmunk. Don't think I didn't see you there. Digging in the mulch.
Yeah, by the tree. You're next buddy.

I think I'm channeling Carl Spackler...


miriam said...

They were wasps. I once got a wasp bite from a nest that was buried in the ground, right next to my strawberry patch. My arm hurt like hell, and swelled up to twice its normal size.

Suburbia can be donwright dangerous.

They Call Me Liebo said...

Thanks, Miriam. I discovered a mini sinkhole in my backyard this afternoon. I may revise my plans of sticking my arm down there to see what caused it.