Saturday, August 8, 2009

Famous Last Words...

Contrary to always saying that I don’t kill anything [in my garden], I have to come clean here and now. I have to admit to all reading my blog I had a major killing spree on Wednesday.

It all began in the kitchen on Tuesday night while I was preparing dinner. I heard a buzzing sound; it sounded like a bee; it sounded like a bee on a collision course with a glass object. Sure enough, when I looked up, there was a bee buzzing around my fluorescent tube light.

I grabbed the fly swatter, climbed up onto the kitchen table and after a few maniacal swipes, managed to connect with the bee. I stunned it; it fell to the floor where I slid it onto a piece of paper and threw it out of the window. A few minutes later I heard a buzzing sound again. Perplexed, I looked up and sure enough, there was another bee buzzing around the tube light.

Before I could get up onto the table and repeat the performance I had with with this bee's predecessor, it made a bee-line for me. (excuse the pun!) I swatted it with my hand, connected with the insect which then also fell, stunned to the floor. Once again, I scooped the dopey bee up on a piece of paper and threw it out of the window.

I continued preparing my dinner with no further interruptions.

When viewing the bees on the net curtain here, it doesn't look as if there were many. They were in fact, moving so fast and I was trying to encourage them to go out and at the same trying to take photos of them

The weather was unseasonably hot this morning, and the sun caused the bees to crowd on the window pane, all trying to get out

Next morning, however, the sun was high in the sky already and I was engrossed in blogging here in my office. Suddenly I heard a buzzing sound... I looked out of the window, thinking perhaps the two bees I had stunned and forcibly removed from my home the previous night, had regained consciousness and were intent on gaining entry again. Not so, instead of two slightly concussed bees, there were dozens of bees on the inside of my window pane, obviously trying to get outside on their own steam.

To be fair to myself, at first I opened the windows, and using the net curtain, tried to guide the bees out. A few flew out but many more took their place. Then one cheeky blighter came straight for my face! Now I really went to war. Grabbing the fly swatter once again, I flailed out left, right and centre until the office floor was strewn with bee corpses.

I’m not afraid of, or allergic to, bees. Not at all. And, as my regular readers know, I don’t kill anything. Here, though was a case of them (hundreds by now – and beginning to agitate because the office was heating up in the morning sun) or me. And I know whose side I was on. Ha!

Ever faithful and so helpful, John and David came inside to help solve the problem of the bees. David (on the ladder) is a competent handyman and attends to all the repairs in and around the house and garden.

Because I realised by now that the bees must be coming from somewhere INSIDE my house, I called the gardeners inside and asked them to help me look for any holes, or bees crawling out of crevices in the walls. When I changed my Internet provider in April, the post office technicians came and removed the satellite dish which powered by previous internet. They removed cables which ran from my office into the ceiling and from the office, through the wall to the dish outside. They filled the holes, but David had to plug up three more holes which might or might not have been here all along.

Still the bees continued to arrive...

I did a stealthy inspection in the kitchen walking around all four walls, peering into what looked like cracks to me.


David ably repairs a hole next to the flourescent light

Until I came to the last wall.

The wall with the closed-off chimney.

When we bought the house nine years ago there was anthracite stove in the kitchen. A lovely old Aga. I used it for two years until the cost of the fuel and the inconvenience of cleaning this old girl became too much for me. I spoke to a builder in town and one Friday evening he brought six men with him. They dismantled the stove, filling my kitchen and office with black powdery anthracite dust in the process. Then they manhandled it out of the house and onto the back of the builder’s pick-up truck. I gave him the stove as payment for removing it.

The stove was out but the chimney opening remained. The builder closed the gap with a piece of aluminium. Recently however, this plating had, unbeknown to me, lifted on one side. As I stood and watched, a bee emerged from underneath the plate, then a second bee, then three, four, five bees.

I spotted the bees emerging from the gap (where David has his hand) in the covering over the chimney

Eureka! I had found where the bees were coming from. When I called David and showed him the gap, he immediately plastered it closed.

No more bees...

David, my intrepid handyman, making short work of the bees' escape route

When the gardeners and I stood outside later that day and looked up at the chimney pot on my roof, we could see the bees coming out of it. Not angry or swarming, but just flying out and off into the blue.

I hope that’s the last I’ve seen of these little guys.

I'm not sure if anyone keeps bees as pets (lol!) but I've decided to post my experience with them on Pet Pride this week. For more Pet Pride click here


  1. What a scary fight, but I'm glad you figured out where they were coming from. We had a similar expereince in our house 5 years ago with yellow jackets. More and more kept appearing. An exterminator finally discovered they had gotten into the attic trough a small hole in the siding of our house and were coming through a small gap by a light fixture over the kitchen sink.

  2. They were trying to make a nest in our attic and then smelled food cooking (our dinner) and so in they swarmed. We affectionately call yellow jackets "meat bees" here, because they actually do eat meats, and they take bites out of people.

  3. What an incredible mystery you have solved. I know what you mean about not killing things. But, sometimes....
    Had wasps in an attic that came through light sockets by the 100s. Only choice was to bomb the place. Especially as my (x) husband was alergic.
    It was creepy.

  4. Ah, to Bee or not to bee, that is the question. I am not casting aspersions but had you remained calm, the whole drama would not have occurred, you would not hage a mildly guilty conscience and we would have missed out on this delightful story. You are so right, it was your agitatin which made them angry, especially thwacking at them. Sudden movements really fringten bees.
    I am glad your house is now a bee free zone.
    I wonder how you could milk their hive of honey.....hmmmm

  5. Hi Pat;) whenever you have an experience with bees, wasps, hornets, and you share it, you hear many, many other stories. The one thing in my mind was that if these bees were intent on swarming (and my husband tells me now -spring - is the time for them to do so) then they could hurt my cats, dogs and gardeners. I cannot BELIEVE you have meat/flesh eating bees. Ergh! These poor South African bees were quite harmless I know, but them and I could not co-habit in one house. (LOL)

    Hi Gaelyn;) exactly as I said above comment. In your case you had to get rid of the wasps because of your husband's allergy. I've been advised to through a "fumi-tab" (poison capsule) in the chimney or to activate "Doom-Fogger" (an aerosol spray) but I trust I've managed to get rid of the remaining bees without these measures. Hope you're enjoying your weekend. (((Hugs)))

  6. Sorry to hear about your bee problem Jo, but happy that you got is sorted out (don't feel bad about killing a few of them - imagine if one of your beloved cats or dogs had been stung by one ?) I'm sorry, I just had to have a little laugh as I pictured you standing on your kitchen table with fly swatter in hand ;) too funny !!!!

  7. Absolutely Arija;) I thought exactly the same then while I was posting about the whole episode! I had to laugh, thinking about (at first) letting the bees out to safety yet at the same time, holding the camera in my right hand because I want photos because I know this is blogging material. (HA!) Mmm, I also thought about the hive, but no amount of coaxing would get David up into my ceiling.(lol) I pay a fortune for honey and would LOVE honey on the comb. Now my husband is an expert when it comes to removing hives, but of course, he's not here at this time.

    Hi Lynda;) I've heard horror stories about bees stining pups and older cats and killing them. I also laughed at myself while I was dangerously waving my arms around up against the ceiling. I always ask myself when I come off unscathed from one of my climbing feats, what would happen if I had fallen and hurt myself/broken something. This weekend is a long-weekend here in SA and if I was injured today,Saturday, I only see people on Tuesday morning at 7.30 again (my gardeners!) Anyhow, I'm fine. Thanks for popping in.

  8. Great shots of the bees on the curtains. Not fun to have bees flying around en masse in the house. Glad you found the problem and had someone handy to plug up their entrance hole.
    Sounds like you're quite the markswoman when it comes to slapping down unwanted flying critters!

  9. Hi Janie, LOL at me being quite the marksman. Yes, even though I don't relish killing things, I had a real good go at these critters. They all seem to have dispersed. I noticed a few on my rosemary bush in the garden but all's quiet in the ceiling. Yes, the gardeners are ever so helpful and David is especially practical. John is very clever when it comes to collecting post and other parcels from town for me. Thanks for popping in.

    Thanks Regina.

  10. We had a wasp's nest in our garage last year. They were everywhere, but not in the house!
    That's scary to have a bee nest in your house. Glad you had immediate help getting rid of it.

  11. Yes Dedene;) it was a bit scary but mostly frustrating. Thanks for popping in. It's always good to see you.


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