8We recently had house guests. By one estimate, perhaps 20,000 of them. It was in April, when Alfred, Lord Tennyson said: “In Spring , a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”

Spring is also the time when a swarm of bees’ fancy lightly turns to thoughts of a new hive. I was conducting a fact finding mission at the Barnes & Noble when I received an excited call from my wife. She reported our kitchen was filling with bees. It was time for me to come home and reason with them. Understanding the chain of command, realizing this was not a suggestion but rather a direct order, home I went.

Upon arrival, it was clear she had correctly analyzed the situation. We had bees. They had not been there when I left, but now the joint was buzzing. They were entering the kitchen around a window. The bees were not happy to be inside. They clung to the kitchen window desiring to get back outside just as much as they had wanted to get inside.

Either the bees or we had to go. As the Big Lebowski once said: “This aggression will not stand, man.” Breaking out the fly swatter, the swatting began. I felt like the Brave Little Tailor in Grimm’s fairy tale who killed seven files with one blow. It was a massacre. We all know bees are necessary and our friends, so I felt guilty about swatting the interior bees. However, unwilling to live in a hive, swat I must. Once the bees had met their cruel but necessary fate, it was time to seal the window.

The greatest invention of all time is Duct Tape. Admittedly, there is debate that the greatest invention of all time is the Spork, an eating utensil which combines the spearing ability of a fork with the soup scooping ability of a spoon. This debate will wait for another column. A dark horse candidate for greatest invention of all time is the motor vehicle cup holder. But I digress. The Spork would not have helped with keeping more bees out of the kitchen. Duct Tape was just the ticket. I bravely taped up every space in the window as an occasional bee still slipped into the kitchen. After some mop up swatter action, the perimeter was sealed. Further bee immigration was stopped for the moment.

The kitchen border sealed against further undocumented bees seeking asylum, it was time to go outside to see what was doing. There was lots going on outside. Our swarm of bees was looking for a fixer upper for their new hive. A crack above a window casement was well suited for their new home. They were flying in and out, speaking in excited bee talk about their stunning new home. They were all abuzz about their chic new digs. The bees decided the gap in the wall to be move-in-ready with an open floor plan, featuring crisp hardwood flooring, complimented by captivating recessed lighting from the bee entryway leading to an upscale custom bedroom fit for a Queen Bee. They were ready to sign the contract and close the deal immediately.

Granting the bees adverse possession in the walls of the house was problematic. We had Seller’s Remorse about sharing the house with a swarm of bees. Fortunately, Fayetteville is blessed with the Cumberland County Bee Keepers Association which will cheerfully and safely remove swarms of bees. One call to the Bee Keepers resulted in visits from two bee keepers who could remove the bees. One suggested we might have 20,000 bees in the wall of our house. Yikes.

As the bees had just landed, they could be removed with a special bee vacuum once we had part of the roof removed so they could get to the bees. Bees do not carry insurance. The cost of removing and replacing the soffit would be our responsibility.

Knowledge of our bee tenants quickly spread like warm honey on a hot waffle to friends and neighbors. Having your house turned into a bee hive is a source of great amusement to anyone who does not live in a bee hive. We were pleased to bring bee related joy into the lives of our non-bee hosting friends. We went to sleep that night snuggled in our bed while visions of 20,000 bees in the ceiling danced in our heads.

The next morning I went outside to check on the bees. Not all bees are created equal. Some are busy bees. Some are not. We had lazy bees. There was no activity until about noon when the bees came home for lunch.

On Day Three there was no activity all day. The bees had flown the coup. While I was happy the bees had left on their own volition, I was mildly insulted that they had inspected our house and rejected it. To be turned down by a swarm of bees was an experience I had not expected to sting like it did.

The bees weighed us the balance and found us lacking. As Frank Sinatra once sang: “Doo Bee, Doo Bee, Doo.” Now buzz off.

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