Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Springtime in the Suburbs

Right now I am sitting at my desk, feeling a warm spring breeze against my arms. From the window I see the tips of a dogwood tree and a crabapple tree in bloom. Birds are chirping, bees are buzzing . . . and systematically eating my house alive.

In other words, it's carpenter bee season.

I know that of the things that infest and munch upon one's infrastructures, carpenter bees are on the mild side. So, yes, termites would be much worse. And maybe I could tolerate the bees better if there were merely destructive; instead, they are huge, destructive insects with Attitude.

Whenever we're outside, a bodyguard bee whose sole purpose is to protect the queen first divebombs us, then hovers threateningly a few inches above us. It buzzes away eventually, only to return with enforcements. Fortunately, the bees don't seem to get along well with each other, either, and often engage in midair battles that distract them from the large, swatting creatures on ground level.

I'm all for live and let live when it comes to insects (recognizing their crucial role in the ecosystem and all that). But even though most them can't sting, I hate these bees. Jeff's even worse. He took inordinate pleasure yesterday in noting that one of the bees was dead on the pavement. And apparently they are our permanent seasonal guests -- they never go away. The exterminator has essentially thrown up his hands and said "Oh well!" We console ourselves that their activity is limited to the spring.