So recently we discovered that a swarm of honeybees has taken up residence in the siding of our house. Apparently we have a gap between the siding and the brick outside of our walk-out basement door where the productive little darlings have decided to turn into their home.
I'd been reading recently that there is a shortage of honeybees due to all kinds of environmental issues, so I decided that being the green geek that I try to be, I'd find a beekeeper who surely would be ecstatic to get my bees. Right? Um, not so much. I found "TJ" the local beekeeper thanks to Google, left the guy four messages, and finally gave up before he took out a restraining order against me.
Undaunted, I asked around the office and found out that we had used a professional bee-removal service on two jobs within the last two months with great success. I got the number from one of the project assistants, and left a message thinking that surely, I'd never hear from them.
The guy finally called me. We chatted on the phone for a few minutes and I told him about my bee problem, so he said that he would drop by our house the following day and ascertain how serious our problem was and then we could talk about what we could do. Do? Like there are options? I really wanted them GONE. Is that an option?
Three days went by with no word from the Bee Guy. In the meantime, I mentioned my problem to Cat Door because in all likelihood he was going to have to be involved with this whole process anyway. You see, once bees nest somewhere, you have to completely clean the area of all bee materials (including honey), sanitize it and then seal it up in order to, hopefully, keep them from coming back. And I certainly didn't want some unskilled Bee Guy ripping the siding off of my house. I'd much rather take my chances on Cat Door's experience knowing that I could easily kill him with some arsenic brownies if things didn't go well. Not that I would do that, but it's nice to know that it was a viable option.
"Well, ya know, I've dealt with this kind of thing before. And I can get Ryan (his helper) to help me out. One day, and we will fix your bee problem," said Cat Door. I wasn't totally sold on it because, well, he's not a professional Bee Guy.
Finally, Bee Guy called back. After 20 minutes of discussion about bees and how bees are apparently rampant this year due to all the rain and the pollen overproduction, I asked him how many bees he thought we had. He estimated between ten and twenty thousand. THOUSAND. BEES. Hmmm. So, what are our options? He can set a trap outside of the entrance to the "hive" and maybe catch half of the bees. That's $350. But that doesn't guarantee getting all of them, nor does it solve our problem about cleaning all the bee crap out from under the siding. Well, Bee Guy, how much does doing all that cost?
Four thousand dollars. That is on the low side of his estimate.
"I left some materials under your doormat for you to look at. No rush, the honey doesn't start flowing again until the fall so you have a little time to decide what you want to do...." said Bee Guy.
I got home and eagerly pulled the materials from under the doormat. Two sheets of paper - one discussing bees and possible options (with no pricing, might I add). And the other one...well, one side is the Company Philosophy and then the other is an essay on "Some Different Thoughts on Fear, or Are We Really Upset for the Reason We Think?"
For real? Yup. Just a few gems from his papers. And yes, they are copyrighted but I just can't put any credits up here for fear of being Googled and then sued by this guy, because as you can see he is obviously crazy.
On fear: First he discusses that a lot of times our fear is caused by past experiences, often as a child...."Fear destroys more relationships in marriage, business, and countries than any other cause. If we want to lessen the negative happenings in our lives, we need to examine our thoughts, feelings and belief systems. We also need to replace our negative thoughts with positive ones. Could it be that we get everything we ask for by our own moment by moment thinking?" He then goes on to quote the comedian Flip Wilson. Ye gods.
Then, a brief passage from the "Company Philosophy": "Our goal is not pest control but pest elimination in a given area for a period of time. This is the best anyone can hope for. It has been stated in the past that no insect species on our planet has ever been eliminated. However we humanoids have a tendency to destroy ourselves along with other species. It has also been stated that 'We are losing other species of life at a rate of one per day, and soon it will be one an hour.' The obvious causes for this are: loss of habitat, pollution, improper use of chemicals, etc. The challenges are many. We fully acknowledge that it is impossible to overestimate the value of another - nor is it possible to compare one to another - because everyone is unique (and yet equal) in his own right. Some are so much so that the only thing we can agree on is to disagree. In that case distance can promote peace, even though separateness from our world and each other is impossible...."
I disgustedly slammed the papers down on the counter. Four thousand dollars? For someone who doesn't even say he can get rid of the bees? So I called Cat Door. He came by the house, thumped on the siding and the walls a bit and only ever saw about ten bees.
"Six hundred bucks. Actually, five hundred if you cook me and Ryan dinner."
Sold. But here's the thing. The proposed ghetto beekeeping outfit? A Tyvek suit. Hard hat. Covered with queen-sized pantyhose pulled down over it and around their necks.
I am so going to take the day off from work just to watch.
The question is, though - who is crazier? Bee Guy, or Cat Door? I'm not so sure.