Sunday, September 30, 2007

Making the Nine

Time is slipping past me rather rapidly. Breaking my series of “nines” in the month of September, however, seemed like a bad omen. So, I’ll just jot down a few things. Besides, the blogosphere is so empty without me.

This past weekend I had a small cocktail gathering. Two major things occurred to me. First, I ran out of cocktail glasses about midway through the evening. Even though I have eight, my first thought was, “I must buy more.” This, I believe, is a symptom of my dish mania. What am I hoping to do? Accumulate enough stemware to open a bar? How much larger am I imagining future cocktail parties will get? If not all of my guests end up with the perfect glass, it’s no big deal. Right? Of course!

Well, that is what I said until one of the other cocktail glasses broke. Then I took it as a sign from God that I must purchase more. I am very religious like that. God is always giving me messages that I should shop more. Who am I do to argue with the will of God?

The other thing that happened was that I had been battling a swarm of never-dying bees that have built a nest in between the siding on my little cottage. I have called out a professional exterminator twice to kill the little bastards. Yet, they just won’t die. Now they are burrowing into the inside. On Saturday, I killed twenty of them who made their way indoors. As I frantically participated in a bee mass-execution in the hours before the party started, I had very grave visions that they would swarm over my guests. That probably wouldn't win me any awards as host.

Part of the problem is that the exterminator seems a little conservative in her application of poisons. She has expressed concern for spraying the whole house because of Cat. While I appreciate that, I actually think that the bees are the greater danger. I mean, the chances of Cat dragging his tongue along the baseboards are fairly slim. Meanwhile, the chances of him deciding that the bees are a new plaything are very high. Coming home and potentially finding a bee-stung kitty makes me quite anxious.

To deal with the problem on Saturday, I purchased some spray that I used myself along the windows and baseboards. This only reminded me that I am fairly sensitive about killing things. Trust me, I want the bees gone. Still, I feel bad about killing insects. I mean, they are important to the environment. They pollinate the plants and stuff. Bee vomit is delicious. Who am I to disrupt the cycle of life? What if one of the little bee larvae that I sprayed now would have grown up one day to cure bee cancer?

Waking up in the morning and finding the floor strewn with dead and dying bees seemed grim. Actually, it was just dying bees that bothered me. Maybe I just want them dead, but not suffering. I half expected to see a tiny bee Scarlett roaming around the dying bees looking for a bee doctor.

This made me want to learn more about bees. Well, by “learn more,” I don't mean that I wanted to do actual research or anything that required, you know, work. So, I turned to my old friend, Professor Internet.

Here are some things that I learned about bees:

    Bees are decedents of wasps.

    Bees are also related to ants.

    It is likely that the “bees” in my house are really wasps (which makes me oddly feel better about killing them. After all, we all know that wasps are the mafia thugs of the insect world. They wouldn't hesitate to kill us.).

    There are 130 different kinds of bees, wasps, and hornets in the continental U.S.

    The honey bee is the state insect of Utah.

    Apparently the Utah legislature has a lot of time on its hands if it’s naming state insects.

    Dodge produced the famed muscle car the “Super Bee” between 1968 and 1971.

    The popular (and now shockingly overpriced) motor scooter's name "Vespa" means "Wasp" in both Latin and Italian.

    Saint Bee, according to the Catholic Church, lived between 615 and 693 CE. She founded several churches and built a convent in Belgium.

    Spelling bees are not widely practiced outside of the U.S.

    Bee is a brand of playing cards in the U.S.

    The majority of bee species produce almost no honey.

    California has three “bee-titled” newspapers: The Sacramento Bee, The Fresno Bee, and The Modesto Bee.

    Samantha Bee, a regular correspondent for The Daily Show, was born in Toronto Ontario, Canada. She was the first non-U.S. citizen to be a regular on-air correspondent for the show.

    A “bee” was a term used widely in the eighteenth and nineteenth century to describe activities that required community involvement (e.g. Quilting Bee, Husking Bee, Orgy Bee. Okay, maybe I made up that last one. They just called them orgies.)

    Bees are strictly vegetarian. Wasps, on the other hand, digest meat to feed their larvae.

    Bea Arthur was born in May, 1922. She is a Taurus.

    Reading about wasps and bees creeps me out. I am also now totally convinced that both I and my cat will soon perish and then be served to wasp larvae as hamburger.


jbear said...

Oh, Professor. It's perish..

GayProf said...

JBear: The wasps might force us to attend Catholic Mass before killing us. You never know...

I corrected it.

Chad said...

Don't forget, honey bees also (supposedly) communicate through dance, which is awesome:

I'm actually agiphobic,so I'm very sympathetic to your plight. Since bees tend to be one of the few insects that aren't seen as "bad" in our culture, people constantly ask me why I'm afraid of bees and wasps but not spiders. My response is always, "Spiders can't fly really fast."

Marius said...

Yeah, I have a friend who studies the behavior of honey bees. It's interesting stuff. Anyway, don't feel so bad; most people in modern societies aren't taught how to coexist with animals (and nature). It's not easy, but it is possible. We all could learn a thing or two from a number of indigenous tribes in the Americas.

tornwordo said...

I was on the rooftop patio at a friend's house the other day. A wasp nest was in action in one of the ventilation ducts. So they got a can of spray glue and sprayed it all over the hive. Dripping gluey wasps flailed and drowned. The ones returning from outside witnessed their brethren dying and then set to attacking us. We went inside.

Glenn said...

Long story, but I worked on a construction crew that repaired mobile homes when I was a teenager. Whenever we received a mobile home with bees (often in the south), we called our local apiary. The guy would come out, break into the honeycomb, snag the queen bee, and the rest would follow. A week later, all the bees that didn't follow the queen would be dead. Use Professor Internet to find your local guy.

Better than toxic pesticide.

Marlan said...

I always had an affinity for Aunt Bee.

Dave said...

Long-time lurker, first-time commenter. A few years ago I spent a summer working at an apiary and doing bee removals from people's homes and businesses. We would just walk up, cut down the hive, and put it in a bucket with no gloves or protection whatsoever. I never wore a net and I almost never got stung. The point is that if you are nice to the bees, they will be nice to you. Also, don't you know there's a big bee shortage in this country right now? Glenn is right, call your local bee guy and he will give them a new home!

vuboq said...

Bees, I like. Wasps are another story. Sometimes, I think they are just mean.

Glad your cocktail party was successful. One should never need a sign from God to buy more cocktail glasses. They should simply do it. Vuboq is all about the glassware.

Anonymous said...

"After all, we all know that wasps are the mafia thugs of the insect world. They wouldn't hesitate to kill us."
- totally feeling you. I wouldn't kill either, but, I wouldn't kill a bee becuase bees are lovely and kind. I wouldn't kill a wasp simply because it's bad karma. I'm refraining from ending it's wicked little life for me, not it.

Antonio said...

Wow, I didn't know Bea Arthur was that old! That's... really, really old.

A post about Bees and no mention the Bee Movie? Boo on that.

Will said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bardelf said...

I would find another exterminator, if you really want to get rid of the bees. Another option is to contact your local agricultural extension agency or wildlife commission. They might have alternative ways of getting your home free of bees without killing them. (Is there a department at GayProf's university that might specialize in this?)

Finally, God has told me that GayProf should visit IKEA for more stemware. Cheers.

Will said...

I think you need many, many more cocktail and wine glasses. Now that you're settled at an institution of higher education and in a place you find socially congenial, you are perfectly equipped personally to establish a salon.

You can let it out that GayProf receives on Thursday evenings chez lui. The literati, the composers, the visual art crowd and the electronic avant-garde will certainly beat a path to your door.

Just make sure you let it be known that there's food and liquor to be had and they'll gather like flies. Or bees.

PS--my word verification was godswld. The religious right will be so pleased.

Baron Scarpia said...

Off topic - taking your latest stalking choices into account, does this mean you have now made the good Doctor's acquaintance?

And don't you find it's an utter bitch trying to stalk a time traveller? You may complain that the dead people you stalk don't move much, but give that simple task any day of the week...

Earl Cootie said...

I, too, am pro-bee. I have no large feeling one way or the other toward wasps. I don't know how I'd feel about them in my home threatening my (imaginary) houseguests and (dead) kitty though. I'd probably give them something akin to the spider in the tub treatment: first, attempting an elaborate rescue mission (often featuring ladders of toilet paper); and failing that, Sorry, I tried to help you out, No, really, I did, This is on your own head now, There's nothing more I can do, I gave it my best, (turning water on).

Adam said...

I was attacked by a swarm of bees while mowing the lawn in Arizona. Afraid that they might be killer bees I ran around the front of the house and dove into the pool with all my clothes on. Later I read that if they were killer bees the swarm would have waited for me to come up for air.

pacalaga said...

LMAO! I'm pretty sure the Pope considers bees and wasps to be heathens. After all, the females have all those sex partners. And, they DANCE. The hussies.
Oooh, Chad beat me to it - I should read the comments before making one myself, but alas, I am too lazy.
DH had a SuperBee. (If I hadn't already laid claim to DH, he could build and maintain that muscle car museum you talked about.) He loved it. Until a bolt came loose and it tried to kill him. Even the mechanical bees can get you, it seems.

Anonymous said...

Let it bee!

Sarah said...

Torn: If that had happened at my house, we would have watched the wasps build their nest. Because we're nerdy. But shooting glue at them sounds kinda fun, too.

GP: Congrats on making the 9!

Anonymous said...

Bee all that you can bee!

Are they wasps? or yellow jackets? Or hornets? may lovely stinging insects. :)

As for glassware, I second the IKEA suggestion, though Meijer also has insanely cheap glassware, if you're just looking for something simple.

Laverne said...

I'm allergic to bees. Of course that means I've been stung far more times than any average person.

You already knew I was above average though, didn't you?

Isn't there some kind of smoke stuff that will keep the bees away?

dykewife said...

it sounds a whole lot like the siding is going to have to come off of the house and the insulation removed in order to get rid of the buggers. we had wasps make nests in our house and then the rotters made nests in the ground. it's not easy to kill a nest that's underground.

wasps also increase their protein intake in fall before the winter hibernation. they are found swarming picnics here trying to scam food and frighten people away from their weinies.

Roger Green said...

We've had ants - LOTS of ants. When they're outside, they're OK; when they're inside, they're dead.

You're too young to remember Bea Benaderet, the mother on Petticoat Junction (and before that Aunt Pearl on the Beverly Hillbillies), who died in 1968, during the PJ run. (She was replaced by June Lockhart - Lassie's mom - as "our lady M.D., she's as pretty as can be at the Junction."

The Brian said...

We get these teeny tiny little ants in the spring. They're industrious, determined little bastids. Any little piece of fruit left out will be swarmed by an enormous tiny invading force.

David said...

You are a very silly man. Don't ever change.

NB: If you cut one in half, would you name it "Eric?"

Anonymous said...

There is a story in my past reminiscent to yours. The only differences are it was when I was a kid, it was in a tiny apartment, and it involved roaches.

I'm with you on the stinger terror-codes. Bees are at worst a "caution" orange. Wasps and hornets are deep red "run screaming and hide under water" creatures.

The Neighbors Will Hear said...

You can never have enough cocktail glasses.

Also, this made me laugh: "Bees are decedents [sic] of wasps."

Now I have visions of undead wasps, flying about zombie style, making honey.

Steven said...

I always had the pleasure of pulling out their stingers after killing them. Something about retrieving the weapon of the enemy.

goblinbox said...

I doubt their little nervous systems are complex enough to register much pain, so the dying process probably isn't all that bad.

My dog snaps at flying things by instinct. Sometimes she catches flies and kills them. (She doesn't eat them, she spits them out.) Once she snapped at a bee, and it turned around and stung her on the flank. Watching her try to run away from her own arse was one of the funniest things I have ever seen, ever.

Doug said...

One of my favorite songs is "No Rain" by Blind Melon.

It may sound like a non-sequitur, until you watch the video:

adjunct whore said...

now, you seem to have good taste, at least in dishes: how could you be stalking dr. who??

Bill S. said...

I wondered, when I taught ESOL, whether they actually did have Spelling Bees in other countries. I mean, isn't the whole point of a spelling bee that in English, spelling is almost independent of pronunciation? I don't speak much Spanish, but you can give me a reasonably long word, and I'm able to sound it out, with some exceptions. Not much challenge there, eh?

And wasps are much more evil than bees. It is a known fact. And hornets are basically the unhinged serial killers of the insect world: we lived in mortal fear of them and their dangly legs as children.

uberfrau said...

If your wasps still aren't dead, my neighbor taught me this amazing, non toxic way to massacre the hive. Water and dawn dish soap, two parts water, one part dawn in a spray bottle. I don't know why it works, but it does. They fall out of the hive and die a swift and complete death. Best to do it after dark.
ps. I love your blog.