Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Silence of the Bees

My back porch is sacred to me.

Nowhere do I enjoy being more, than sitting in my favourite chair on that porch.

Perfect on a sunny afternoon. Western exposure, bordered by a long garden. Sun + cold beverage + feet up = ahhhhhhhhhhhh. 'Nuff said.

Perfect on a rainy day. As long as the wind isn't howling, you can sit on the porch and watch the storms roll in. Enjoy the smell and the coolness of the rain without getting wet. The lavender I have planted smells especially nice and fragrant on rainy days.

When I'm at work on a beautiful day, I daydream about getting home and porch sitting.

I can sit in silence and listen to the cardinals singing. Or I can crank up my iPod through the outdoor speakers that Chuckles installed a couple of years ago, and rock out with my cock out.

Depends on my mood.

There's a long history of porch sitting here in America. There's an art to it. Everyone loves to porch sit. Even Mark Twain.

Our friends Sean and Andie are moving into a different house next month. It's pretty nice.

It's pretty large, has a HUGE yard, a fenced in garden, beautiful trees. Which one of those perks is the most important to them?

None of the above. All Andie kept saying was, "But it has a PORCH SWING."

Porches are important!

The back porch is my sanctuary. Anybody messes with my porch? I mess up their FACE.

A couple of days ago, Chuckles and I were parked on the porch after work. We were watching a giant bee droning around the eaves of the house.

I'm talking about a huge-ass bee.

These bees have been hanging out the last 2 or 3 weeks. They'll lazily dive-bomb you if you try to get anything done in the garden.

"Those are boring bees," said Chuckles.

Boring bees, eh?

Do they ambush you with calculus equations when you're least expecting it?

Do they show you endless slides of family vactions?

Do they prattle on for hours about their stamp collections?

Do they use really bad puns?

A friend of mine said that an image of bees playing golf was brought to mind.

People here call them boring bees, but they're actually carpenter bees.

Little fuckers look innocent, don't they? Especially against that poncy pink background.

Well they're not.

I've heard of honey bees. Mason bees. Killer bees.

Normally, I love bees. But wood-eatin' bees??

You know what I say to that.

Anyway, Chuck and I were sitting on the porch watching that gargantuan, slovenly bee, when Chuck looks down beside his chair and says, "What the hell is this shit? Sawdust?"

Uh-oh. Our relaxing afternoon of porch sitting had been interrupted. Chuckles turned into a bee-seeking missile. Everytime one of the fat bees would come buzzing up to the screen, he would watch it to see if it disappeared.

We knew that the bees couldn't be boring holes inside the porch, because it's all lined in vinyl siding with no cracks in it. Ceiling included. Plus, every time a bee would actually make it through a rip in the screen, it would just stupidly run itself into a corner and repeatedly hit the screen, trapped. They're not the brightest crayons in the box.

However, the porch is framed up with treated wood to support the screen.

Wood-chewin' bees don't normally bore holes into treated wood, but the wood is a few years old now, and spends most of the day in bright sun, so the treatment has worn out a bit.

It seemed we searched every inch of the wood, and still couldn't find a hole. Chuck sat back down but was still restless. Like a cat tracking a canary.

The bee suddenly disappeared.

"A-ha!" Chuck shouted, and bolted from his chair to see where the bee went.

He finally found the hole. Clever little bee bastards. The entrance point was chewed away just where the top of the screen door rested whilst closed. There was just enough of a crack between the door and the wood above for the fat-ass bees to squeeze through.

Whilst Chuckles was busy pissing off the bees by hammering on the frame (such a shit-disturber, my husband), I went to go look up what we could do about it. Like a good wife should.

According to the Gospel of Wikipedia, they like to bore into wood that faces the sun. They bore a single hole upwards into the wood, and then chew tunnels horizontally, where they lay eggs.

It seems to be a very bad idea to try to plug the hole. Since they make holes horizontally through the wood, this wouldn't do much good anyway. But we couldn't just let them go to town on it. My beloved porch would end up looking like swiss cheese!

Chuckles decided he was going to rip down the piece of wood above the screen door and see how far they'd burrowed.

It wasn't as bad as it might have been if we'd waited.

Chuck sawed the wood apart to see what they did to the inside of the 2x4. It was interesting, it was just like the illustration I posted above (click on my pics, they look better that way), minus the bee eggs. Hadn't got that far along yet.

One cut...

Two cuts...

Three cuts. You can get a pretty good picture of the damage they can do. Also of how dry Chuck's hands are.

They were also starting on a second hole on the other end.

Chuck said he's worked on old houses in Jacksonville that were completely infested with these bees. Gack!

He cut a new piece of treated 2x4 and replaced it where the old one had been. Good as new! I'm thinking we're going to have to do that to the whole frame of the porch eventually.

Bee-ware the wood-chewin' bees, they'll get into your house when you least expect it!!


ONG said...

If my kids had seen that they would be in therapy. They are beyond scared of bees and I'm all like "you know how important the bees are". Great story. And by the way, I get the 40 Year Old Virgin reference. "You know how come I know you're gay. Cause you listen to Coldplay".

Kyna said...

I figured you would get it, I just had to put that disclaimer in there in case you hadn't seen the movie and thought I was on crack.

"You know how I know you're gay? Because you macramed yourself a pair of jean shorts."


Anyway, like I said, I normally love bees. Chuck calls me 'Bee'. Their cute little faces are printed all over my girly kitchen.

But wood chewin' bees ha-got-ta-go.

Shopgirl said...

I enjoyed finding your blog since my brother lived in Edmonton for 10 years. His family all love and miss it there a lot and I miss going there to visit him too! Love your photos.

Kyna said...

Nice to meet you Shopgirl! :D I love having new readers.

I'm glad to hear that your family all loved Edmonton. I never thought I would leave that place, I wanted to live there forever (even with all the snow ;)) It's funny how life will take you other places whether you plan to go to those places or not.

Hope you'll be back to read more!

John Gray said...

I am so your best friend
bombay gin!
nectar of the gods!

The Idiot Gardener said...

Wood eating bees? I'm not having that.

We have metal-eating butterflies, with big horns on their heads, and teeth like razors, and cocks like revolving corkscrews, and they mess with bulls and slap dolphins around.

Bees that bore through wood; you muct think we were born yesterday!

Kyna said...

John: When I was younger I used to wonder why anyone would ever enjoy gin. "This tastes like pine trees!" I would say. Now I really love it. Tonic water a little lime...:)

IG: A Helix-Cocked Butterfly? I bet that's rare.

Quick! Someone call Desmond Morris!

Anything Fits A Naked Man said...

WOW! Those are some busy bees, indeed! I had never heard of borer bees either, until the little buggers started working on my own porch last year. If I weren't so impressed, I'd have been really pissed off!

I know what you mean about porches, though. When we were looking for houses a few years back, I wouldn't even LOOK at a house that didn't have a big front porch! Nothing like it!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

OMG ................. now I live in fear of them eating our deck apart ........... wait a minute .... can they survive Canuck winters ? or are they pansy bees and only live down south (did I mention number one son is in the middle of the torture of trying to get accepted down there with poor wife working her brain cells to the nubs filling out "e' paper work for said acceptance ?) did I say that out loud while typing .. shit .. I hate doing that .. shit .. I think I said SHIT out loud too ? damn !
Let me know about the bees not surviving Canuck winters OK Kyna .. or I will stay awake nights thinking about it all .. god knows a menopausal woman doesn't need another reason to go ape shit... oops .. I think I said shit out loud again .. SHIT !!

Kyna said...

The more you say 'shit', the more I like you.

I didn't even think it was possible to like you more! :P

I hate to break it to you, but carpenter bees are in Ontario. O_O I didn't think they were until I looked at a map of their range.

Sleep with the lights on and a can of Raid O_O